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The Power Of Pumpkin Seeds

Updated on July 21, 2014

Pumpkin Seed Oil

Pumpkin seeds discovered over a century ago some Americans farmers noted that when their livestock munched on pumpkin seeds, they seemed to urinate more often. They weren't the first to notice the seeds effects either. The Nativelroquois had long used pumpkin seed as a diuretic, and the Cherokee gave it to children to control bed wetting, since it seemed to help empty the bladder before falling asleep.

Most recently it was the turn of the Europeans who began using the bright green oil from the crushed pumpkin seeds for prostate health, and in Germany the oil is an approved over the counter treatment for enlarged prostate glands. But while several companies sell pumpkin seed oil as a stand alone supplement for prostate health, it isn't so popular in the U.S yet. Much of the evidence on pumpkin seed oil comes from the research conducted in Germany over the last 50 years, But just a handful of studies have been published says Eric Yarnell, a professor of botanical medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle.

Pumpkin Seeds

Back in the 1960's, a few German studies showed that taking 5 to 15 grams of pumpkin seeds daily for up to a year improved symptoms in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia, an age related enlargement of the prostate gland known as BPH symptoms include urinating more frequently, a weak or hesitant urinary stream and urinary leaking.

More Pumpkins

Studies on the subject since the 1960's have been few and far between, but most of them do appear to support those initial findings. In the 1990 Swedish researchers gave either a blend of pumpkin seeds and saw palmetto or placebo to 53 men with BPH. They found those who received the seed based treatment were more likely to report stronger urinary flow and less frequent urination compared with those who didn't receive the treatment. The results were reported in the British journal of urology.

More Pumpkin Health Benefits

In another study published in a German journal in 1998 more than 2000 men with BPH took between 500 and 1000 milligrams of a pumpkin seed oil extract daily for three months. By the study's end, the mens average frequency of daytime urination decreased from 6.7 times to 5.2 times and the average frequency of night time urination fell from 2.7 to 1.3 times. But pumpkin seed oil does have other things going for it.

The oil is rich in essential fatty acids a single teaspoon contains about 4 grams of monounssaturated fatty acid and about 7 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acid, which has been linked to improved cholesterol levels and reduced risk of heart disease.

Plus pumpkin seed oil has a flavour that is nutty and rich. Culinary expert recommend drizzling it over fish,goat cheese,grilled vegetables,soups and even vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin Pie Recipe - Less than 30 mins preparation time 30 mins to 1 hour cooking time

Ingredients

For the pastry

sweet short crust pastry case (or a packet of ready made sweet short crust pastry with 40g/1½oz crushed pecans mixed in.)

For the filling

450 g/1lb prepared weight pumpkin flesh, cut into 1in/2.5 cm chunks

2 large eggs plus 1 yolk (use the white for another dish)

3 oz/75g soft dark brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ tsp ground allspice

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground ginger

10 fl oz/275 ml double cream

Preparation method

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Use a shop bought sweet crust pastry case, about 9 inch/23 cm diameter and 1½ inches/4 cm deep.

To make the filling, steam the pumpkin then place in a coarse sieve and press lightly to extract any excess water.

Then lightly whisk the eggs and extra yolk together in a large bowl.

Place the sugar, spices and the cream in a pan, bring to simmering point, giving it a whisk to mix everything together. Then pour it over the eggs and whisk it again briefly.

Now add the pumpkin pureé, still whisking to combine everything thoroughly.

Pour the filling into your pastry case and bake for 35-40 minutes, by which time it will puff up round the edges but still feel slightly wobbly in the centre.

Remove the pie from the oven and place the tin on a wire cooling rack. Serve chilled (stored loosely covered in foil in the fridge) with some equally chilled créme fraïche, but warm or at room temperature would be fine.

Recipe By Antony Worrall Thompson

Pumpkin soup - 30 mins to 1 hour preparation time 1 to 2 hours cooking time

This velvety pumpkin soup recipe is great for Bonfire Night - it’s served with a splash of sherry in a hollowed-out pumpkin.

Ingredients

1 x 4kg/8lb 13oz pumpkin

125g/4oz butter

2 medium onions, peeled, finely chopped

1 cinnamon stick

freshly grated nutmeg

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.7 litres/3 pints chicken stock (vegetarians may substitute vegetable stock)

3 tablespoons sherry

Preparation method

Cut the top off the pumpkin and set aside. Scoop out the seeds and fibres from the middle and discard.

Using a sharp knife and a spoon, carefully hollow out the pumpkin, removing the flesh and setting aside. (It is imperative that you do not cut right up to the inside of the skin or pierce it. Leave 2cm/1in of flesh all around the inside.)

Roughly chop the scooped-out pumpkin flesh.

Melt the butter in a large pan with a lid over a low heat and add the onions. Cook the onions gently for 10-15 minutes, until they are softened and golden-brown.

Add the pumpkin flesh, the cinnamon and nutmeg, and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Increase the heat to medium and cover with the lid. Cook for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the base from burning, until the pumpkin is cooked through.

Add the stock and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer the soup to a food processor in batches and blend until smooth.

Return the soup to the pan and bring to a low simmer and cook for a further half an hour.

Forty-five minutes before eating, preheat the oven to 170C/335F/Gas 3.

Pour the soup into the hollow pumpkin shell, add the sherry and stir to combine.

Place the reserved pumpkin 'lid' onto the pumpkin and place onto a large baking tray. Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes, to bring the soup up to temperature.

To serve, carefully remove from the oven and serve the soup in the pumpkin at the table. Ladle into bowls and serve

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    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      I know the soup is incredible. Thanks for sharing this wonderful lense.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      I've always loved pumpkins and pumpkin seeds - so healthy AND delicious! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 5 years ago from Michigan

      Excellent lens! I start each day with a good handful of shelled unsalted pumpkins seeds, both as a preventative...and just because they taste good and are loaded with protein. Since they come raw from the healthfood store, sometimes I toss them on my George Foreman grilll for a minute or two which really improves the taste. When you roast them this way, they plump up. And when you put them on a plate and they begin to cool, they make a clinking sound as they contract slightly. I don't eat Rice Krispies..but if I did, they and the pumpkin seeds could serenade each other.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      I have yearned for that time of year when we could all gather around and carve our pumpkins ... then gather the pumpkin seeds from the sticky innards of that pumpkin. And, finally roast and salt those seeds. Ah, thanks for the memories. And, now I'm thinking of the septic system for some reason!

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 5 years ago

      Great ideas!! I love pumpkin, so this looks good!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      It sound like we should all be eating more pumpkin seeds. I love the idea of seving pumpkin soup right out of the pumpkin, what a fun presentation.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      very cool dishes, I especially liked your touch on the soup in a pumpkin with the top and all! you earned a 'thumbs up' from me indeed.

    • LizRobertson profile image

      LizRobertson 5 years ago

      Roasted pumpkin seeds are now not just a treat... they're a treatment! Hooray! I'll toast that with my glass of red wine (also a healthful treat!).

    • profile image

      Pete Schultz 5 years ago

      Pumpkin seed oil...who knew? I do like pumpkin pie, bars, custard, soup and even baked and mashed with butter...like many other squash. Nice lens.

    • betsuzlap profile image

      betsuzlap 6 years ago

      I love Pumpkins, especially my mom's Pumpkin pie!! Now I can't wait for Thanksgiving :)) Hey, have you ever tried roasted Pumpkin seeds? They are delightful. Try it.

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 6 years ago from Western Mass

      mmm... i love the upcoming fall because of pumpkins - carving, seeds, pie, soup, cookies...