You get into the Halloween spirit by carving a pumpkin. As you scoop out the seeds, your first instinct is to throw them away; but not so fast. Save the seeds! There’s a delicious and healthy snack hidden in that pile.
Pumpkin seeds (also called ‘pepitas’) are a highly nutritious food. These tiny seeds contain a significant amount of vitamins, protein and iron, which promotes an increase in energy levels. Pumpkin seeds reduce inflammation and have a high concentration of the minerals your body needs- zinc, magnesium, and calcium.
One serving of seeds provides you with a healthy quantity of the heart- healthy fat that reduces “bad” cholesterol.
Sprinkle them on cereal and salads, or add to homemade breads. Mix with other nuts, seeds and dried fruit to make a great trail mix. Add them to soup. Organic pumpkin seeds tend to be a darker green than their non-organic equivalents – a sign of their higher magnesium content.
And, while they are most nutritious when eaten raw, if you prefer them prepared, here’s how to toast them:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the pumpkin open and use a strong metal spoon to scoop out the insides. Separate the seeds from the stringy core. Rinse the seeds.
2. In a saucepan, add seeds to water (about 2 cups of water to a half cup of seeds). Add salt, then bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.
3. Put a little olive oil on a roasting pan, then spread the seeds out. Bake on the top rack for 20 minutes, or until the seeds begin to darken. Let the seeds cool before eating. Either crack to remove the inner seed (a lot of work and in my opinion, unnecessary) or eat whole. The shell is a good source of fiber.
Be bold and try some pumpkin seeds. You only need a handful a day to take advantage of the nutrients in this ‘superfood .’
So go ahead and give your tongue something to toss around when you’re in the snacking mood.