One of the best things about Halloween and making Jack O’ Lanterns, is gathering all the seeds and making toasted pumpkin seeds.The roasted seeds from inside your Halloween pumpkins are one of the most nutritious and flavorful seeds around. While pumpkin seeds are available year round, they are the freshest in the fall when pumpkins are in season.
Pumpkin seeds are normally flat, dark green seeds. Some are encased in a yellow-white husk, although some varieties of pumpkins produce seeds without shells. Like cantaloupe, cucumber, and squash, pumpkins and pumpkin seeds belong to the gourd family.
Pumpkin seeds offer a number of health benefits from helping with inflammation from arthritis to strengthening men’s bones. Pumpkin seeds are also low in cholesterol and high in protein and make a terrific snack anytime.
Eating pumpkins, and their seeds came from the Native American Indians who treasured them both for their dietary and medicinal properties. The cultivation of pumpkins spread throughout the world when the European explorers, returning from their journeys, brought back many of the agricultural treasures of the New World. While pumpkin seeds are featured in the recipes of many cultures, they are a special hallmark of traditional Mexican cuisine. Pumpkin seeds have recently become more popular as research suggests they have unique nutritional and health benefits.
Making Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Remove the seeds from the pumpkin’s inner cavity and wipe them off with a paper or cloth towel. Spread them out evenly on a paper bag and let them dry out overnight.
When they are ready, place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and light toast them in a 160-170°F (about 75°C) oven for 15-20 minutes. By roasting them for a short time at a low temperature you can help to preserve their healthy oils.
Some Great Serving Suggestions:
- Add pumpkin seeds to soups and stews.
- Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of mixed green salads.
- Add chopped pumpkin seeds to your favorite hot or cold cereal.
- Sprinkle chilli powder or paprika on top with a little sea salt and enjoy alone.
- Add pumpkin seeds to your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe.