One of my favorite parts of carving Halloween Jack-o’-lanterns when I was a kid was the roasted pumpkin seeds. I didn’t know it then, but they are actually packed with nutrients and protein.
Cut around the stem of the pumpkin in order to remove it’s top, just like you would if you were about to carve it. Clean out the insides, using your fingers and two large bowels to separate the flesh and fibers from the seeds (the refuse of the middle of a pumpkin makes for a great addition to the compost pile, if you have one).
Take the bowl of seeds and rinse them well with water to clean them thoroughly. A colander under warm running water works well for this- the bits of stringy flesh will accumulate at the bottom of the strainer and make it easier to separate.
Option: boil seeds prebaking in order to make the shells easier to eat- For every cup of seeds you’re cooking, add 2 cups of water to a large pot (and and optional ½ tsp of salt per cup of water). Bring water to a boil and then add seeds; lower heat and let cook for ten minutes before draining again.
Once seeds are drained, move them to a clean mixing bowl and add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, mixing the seeds thoroughly so that they all get lightly coated. You also have the option of just using the olive oil to directly coat the cookie sheet (less dishes!), just make sure that it’s coated entirely before you add the seeds.
Spread the seeds out onto the cookie sheet, just one layer thick.
Salt and season your soon to be roasted pumpkin seeds while they are spread out on the sheet, and then bake them at 400 degrees for 15-25 minutes, mixing them around and changing their positions on the cooking sheet every ten minutes, until they become browned to your satisfaction.
Tasty seasoning options:
• Sea salt and pepper
• Worcestershire sauce
• Cayenne pepper
You can eat the roasted pumpkin seeds with shells on, or you can easily crack them and eat just the seed. You can eat them plain, or add them to salads, stir fry dishes, or wholesome homemade energy bars or natural, healthy cookie recipes.
Store your finished roasted pumpkin seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator and they will stay fresh for at least a month or two.
Pumpkin Seeds Nutrition Facts & Calories
Pumpkin seed calories are calories well spent, as they are an excellent source of manganese, magnesium and tryptophan, and a very good source of phosphorus, copper, and protein.
A quarter cup of seeds has 25% of your daily value of iron, and roughly 20% of your daily protein. They are a good source of monounsaturated fat and are thought to have anti-inflammatory benefits and possibly improve the functioning and health of the prostate.
The nutritional data below is for ¼ cup, hulled. You can eat pumpkin seeds with the shell on, and if you are, you can roughly double the serving size and have approximately the same amount of calories as is listed below for a quarter cup, hulled.
Calories from Fat: 117
Total Fat: 13 g
Saturated Fat: 2.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 5.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 5 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Sugars: 0.3 g
Protein: 6.9 g