Also Known as
Subtly sweet and nutty with a malleable, chewy texture, the roasted seeds from inside your Halloween pumpkin 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, also known as pepitas, are 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 or Cucurbitaceae family.
How to Select
Pumpkin seeds are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the pumpkin seeds are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure the seeds maximal freshness. Whether purchasing pumpkin seeds in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture or insect damage and that they are not shriveled. If it is possible to smell the pumpkin seeds, do so in order to ensure that they are not rancid or musty.
" The easiest way to eat pumpkin seeds is just to eat them!
" While most stores sell pumpkin seeds, it is fun and easy to make your own. To do so, first remove the seeds from the pumpkin's inner cavity and wipe them off with a paper towel if needed to remove excess pulp that may have stuck to them. Spread them out evenly on a paper bag and let them dry out overnight.
" Add pumpkin seeds to healthy sautéed vegetables.
" Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of mixed green salads.
" Grind pumpkin seeds with fresh garlic, parsley and cilantro leaves.
" Mix with olive oil and lemon juice for a tasty salad dressing.
" Add chopped pumpkin seeds to your favorite hot or cold cereal.
" Add pumpkin seeds to your oatmeal raisin cookie or granola recipe.
" Next time you make burgers; from vegetables add some ground pumpkin seeds.
" Also, you can add them to salads (either as they are or dry roast them first in a hot pan) or add them when you make bread.
How to Store
Pumpkin seeds should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. While they may stay edible for several months, they seem to lose their peak freshness after about one to two months.
12 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
1. Rich in Minerals : Pumpkin seeds are a very good source of minerals like phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper.
2. Good source of Proteins : In addition, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein and vitamin K.
3. Prostrate Health : They promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate.
4. Reduces Depression : They contain L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression.
5. Zinc Boost :Because they are high in zinc and very good for men. Zinc boosts the testosterone levels for men.
6. Osteoporosis Protection : Pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis. Low intake of zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis.
7. Anti Inflammatory : Pumpkin seeds effectively reduce inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
8. Kidney Stones: They prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation, according to studies.
9. Lowers risk of Heart Attack : Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterol, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.
10. Cancer : The same phytosterols that lower cholesterol also protect against many cancers.
11. Omega 3 Fatty : Pumpkin seeds are one of highest sources of Omega 3 fatty acids found in plant foods. Omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA reduce inflammation in the body. All of us have inflammation in the body and this is one good source to have to reduce that. Ideal for Vegetarians. Another healthy option is to supplement with fish oil capsules.
12. Fibre : Good source of dietary fibre.