December 15, 2017
Pumpkin Seeds 101

Pumpkin Seeds 101

by Berkeley Wellness  

Pumpkins not only give us delicious pies and jack-o’-lanterns, but these remarkable vegetables also give seeds that can be roasted. Roasted pumpkin seeds have a rich, almost peanut-like flavor. They can be eaten as snacks or added to salads, soups, and casseroles. Pumpkin seeds can also be ground and used to make sauces. A byproduct of pumpkin seeds is a flavorful salad oil.

Pumpkin seeds: nutrition

Pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamin E, iron, magnesium, and zinc. In addition, these tasty morsels provide both essential and unsaturated fatty acids.

For a full listing of nutrients, see Pumpkin Seeds in the National Nutrient Database.

Types of pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are sold in the shell, shelled, roasted, and raw. They can be found in health-food stores and most supermarkets. The shelled pumpkin seeds are often labeled pepitas, meaning “little seeds” in Spanish.

How to store pumpkin seeds

The oil in pumpkin seeds can easily go rancid, so keep pumpkin seeds in the refrigerator or freezer.

How to roast pumpkin seeds

You can roast your own pumpkin seeds if you have a fresh pumpkin. Remove the pumpkin seeds from inside the pumpkin and rinse them in a colander. Pull any pulp or strings from the seeds and rinse again.

Blot the seeds dry and place in a bowl. Add a few drops of olive oil (maybe just a drop of sesame oil, too, for added flavor) and spread them on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the seeds lightly with salt. Roast the seeds at 375° for about 45 minutes, or until they are golden. Cool the seeds completely and store in an airtight container.

5 ways to serve pumpkin seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds make a delicious snack just by themselves. For variety in flavor, you spice up the roasted seeds with cinnamon, paprika and chili pepper, even orange zest and ginger. But you can also add pumpkin seeds to many other dishes.

1. Add pumpkin seeds to yogurt with fruit and nuts.

2. Use pumpkin seeds in homemade granola.

3. Give bran muffins a little crunch with the addition of pumpkin seeds.

4. Add a dash of pumpkin seeds to a green salad.

5. Toss a few pumpkin seeds on a soup, especially a pumpkin or squash soup.

Also see this recipe: Wild Rice and Pumpkin Seed Pilaf.