Pumpkin Seeds-Delicious Nutrition
Pumpkin seeds are flat green seeds that may or may not be encased in yellowish white shells (edible). If you are true believers of the "waste not want not" philosophy, the pumpkin and its seeds are a supreme example of how to use every last bit-wasting nothing.
Fall in our home involves many days of processing the wealth our garden has given. Canning, dehydrating, and freezing fruits and vegetables-this year included many pumpkins. We had a bumper crop.
I choose not to waste the seeds from our pumpkins. It takes a bit of work, but the kids like to join in. It is fun for them to scoop out the slimy seeds from the pumpkins, and then I rinse them and remove all the strings and goo.
We then spread out the clean seeds in a single layer and allow them to dry completely. When this is accomplished, we will generally take a portion to give to the wild birds and squirrels.
Then, we take the remainder, stir in enough olive oil to coat, put in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30-45 minutes in a 250 degree oven. Make certain they are just starting to get lightly brown. (Don't go overboard here however).
I then finish them off one of two ways.
Just lightly salt them, and they taste much like popcorn.
Use this recipe and they are sinfully good.
Spicy Sugared Pumpkin Seeds
3 cups of pumpkin seeds lightly roasted pumpkin seeds (as above without any added salt)
1 ½ teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon Salt
½ cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Mix the spice, sugar, and salt. Blend well.
Heat olive oil in a large non stick skillet over medium to medium high heat.
Add the pumpkin seeds and then the sugar mixture. Stir constantly.
Keep stirring until partially caramelized on to the nuts, leave partially sugary. Do not allow to burn. The sugar should be mostly melted but with a bit of unmelted sugar remaining.
Put out onto parchment paper to cool.
Now not only are pumpkin seeds delicious, and if you make them yourself...thrifty, they are a very nutritious food.
A fourth cup of pumpkin seeds will deliver approximately 46% RDA of magnesium. Magnesium is essential for muscles functioning properly, bone health, and more. 52% RDA manganese-aids the body in synthesizing fats and cholesterol, promotes healthy thyroid function, and more. 28% RDA iron-assists your body in producing energy, aids in oxygen distribution and more. 17% RDA zinc-supports immune system, good for blood sugar stabilization, healthy skin, and more.
Now there is so much more to pumpkin seeds (pepitas). Evidence is strong showing they could be beneficial for preventing or slowing of benign prostate hypertrophy in men.
Pumpkin seeds are also rich in phytosterols, substances known now to be able to lower cholesterol, stimulate the immune system, and decrease the risk of some cancers.
The one downside to pumpkin seeds is that they do have a relatively short shelf life. If we are unable to eat them quickly, I vacuum seal them and put them in the freezer or refrigerator. Even kept in the refrigerator, they seem to be best if used within a month or two.
Pumpkin seeds are not just a Halloween treat. They are a healthful delicious food that deserves to be around a lot longer than that. Try them and see what you think.
- Sugar and Spice Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Roasted pumpkin seeds with sugar and spices, along with a little melted butter or oil. These can also be cooked over low to medium-low heat in the skillet.