It about Halloween time, and pumpkins are readily available at all the pumpkin patches and grocery stores. While creating jack-o-lanterns for the holiday festivities, remember to save the seeds! Each common pumpkin contains about 500 seeds each which can be saved and turned into a nutritious snack.
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with anti-oxidant and can help reduce inflamation especially related to arthritic issues.
pumpkin seeds also contain phytosterols which mimic cholesterol in the body. This reduces the amount of cholesterol in the body. Pumpkin seed oil has been found in studies to reduce the amount of LDL, bad cholesterol, and increase the amount of HDL, good cholesterol in lab rats. It also lowered their blood pressure levels.
There are quite a few different beneficial minerals in pumpkin seeds as well. The most notible one would be manganese. 1/4th cup of pumpkin seeds has about 1.04 mg of this mineral which is over 50% of the reccomended daily intake. Manganese is necessary to inprove bone strength, balance blood sugar, and to regulate cholesterol.
Other minerals found in pumpkins are copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, protein, tryptophan, vitamin K, and zinc.
Before the seeds can be cooked, rinse and remove any pulp. Some little pieces might be stuck to the seeds, and this could be removed, but these pieces can be left on for extra flavor. Then, leave the seeds out to dry over night. It will probably take about a day for the seeds to become dried and ready for roasting.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Grease a baking pan with oil, butter, or a spray before spreading about 2 cups of pumpkin seeds in the pan. Lightly sprinkle salt over the seeds and cook for 12-15 minutes.
One small to medium sized pumpkin will produce anywhere between 1 and 1/2 cups to 2 and 1/2 cups of seeds, so any seasoning will vary depending on the amount of pumpkin seeds you have.
Here are some more seasoning ideas for pumpkin seeds:
French toast: mix 2 tbsp melted butter, 2 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg to 2 cups pumpkin seeds.
Garlic bread: 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp pepper to 2 cups pumpkin seeds.
spicy: 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp tabasco to 2 cups of pumpkin seeds, but more can be added to taste.
Using the seeds creates less waste, but also find ways to use the rest of the pumpkin of more health benefits.