Fall has arrived, and with it pumpkin season. Don’t toss those pumpkin seeds this year! There are many health benefits associated with pumpkin seeds. So toast them or roast them using these simple recipes.
Pumpkin seeds may be salted or spiced to suit your palate. The shells are edible and are a good source of fiber. Use the same recipes with other seeds such as acorn squash and butternut squash. The “trick” to eating pumpkin seeds with the shells on is to boil the seeds in salted water before toasting them in the oven. Also, it helps if you use pumpkins with smaller seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are not only delicious but also provide many health benefits. Here some of the top benefits:
- They promote overall prostate health.
- Pumpkin seeds contain a compound naturally effective against depression.
- Pumpkin seeds effectively reduce inflammation.
- Studies have shown the seeds also help lower cholesterol also protect against many cancers.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
One medium sized pumpkin
Cut open the pumpkin by cutting a circle around the stem end with a sharp knife (knife blade angled in), and pulling off the top. Use a strong metal spoon to scrape the insides of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place the mass of pumpkin seeds in a colander and run under water to rinse and separate the seeds from everything else.
Measure the pumpkin seeds in a cup measure. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to the pan for every half cup of pumpkin seeds. Add more salt if you would like your seeds to be saltier. Bring the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan or thick baking sheet with olive oil, about a tablespoon. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in a single layer, and toss them a bit to coat them with the oil on the pan. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Small pumpkin seeds may toast in around 5 minutes or so, large pumpkin seeds may take up to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so they don’t get over toasted. When lightly browned, remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack. Let the pumpkin seeds cool all the way down before eating.
Try these other ways to season your pumpkin seeds.
- Sweet Toss with cinnamon and sugar (do not use salt in step 4).
- Indian Toss with garam masala; mix with currants after roasting.
- Spanish Toss with smoked paprika; mix with slivered almonds after roasting.
- Italian Toss with grated parmesan and dried oregano.
- Barbecue Toss with brown sugar, chipotle chile powder and ground cumin.
Sweet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
6 tablespoons white sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry and toasted. Larger seeds may take longer.
In a large bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of white sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and sprinkle the remaining sugar over them. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts, about 45 seconds. Pour seeds into the bowl with the spiced sugar and stir until coated. Allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.