Friday, 6 January 2012


Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, make extremely healthy snacks. They have a subtly sweet and nutty flavour. They are really delicious and nutritious. The seeds are available all year round even though they are the freshest in the fall when pumpkins are in season.

Homemade pumpkin seed information and recipe
Below is a nutrients chart for pumpkin seeds but if you would like a more detailed one, click here

This chart was copied from here.

Medicinal properties of pumpkin seeds are briefly as below.
  • Pumpkin seeds may promote prostate health: Mostly due to the components in the pumpkin seed oil, as well as the carotenoids, Omega-3, and zinc in them.
  • Protection for men's bones: It is all thanks to the zinc in the seeds. According to a source, A study of almost 400 men ranging in age from 45-92 that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a clear correlation between low dietary intake of zinc, low blood levels of the trace mineral, and osteoporosis at the hip and spine.
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits in arthritis: The healing properties of pumpkin seeds have also been recently investigated with respect to arthritis.
  • A rich source of healthful minerals, protein and monounsaturated fat: Snack on a quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds and you will receive 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the DV for iron, 52.0% of the DV for manganese, 24.0% of the DV for copper, 16.9% of the DV for protein, and 17.1% of the DV for zinc. 
  • Pumpkin seed phytosterols lower cholesterol: Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and when present in the diet in sufficient amounts, are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers. Of the nuts and seeds typically consumed as snack foods, pistachios and sunflower seeds were richest in phytosterols (270-289 mg/100 g), closely followed by pumpkin seeds(265 mg/100 g). (100 grams is equivalent to 3.5 ounces.) Sesame seeds had the highest total phytosterol content (400-413 mg per 100 grams) of all nuts and seeds, while English walnuts and Brazil nuts had the lowest (113 mg/100grams and 95 mg/100 grams).
You can purchase pumpkin seeds at many health stores as well as supermarkets. However, I would recommend you make your own too, since it is extremely easy and fun to make at home.

How to Make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seed recipeHere are two ways for you to choose from.

Method 1:

Preheat your oven 350º Fahrenheit (176º Celsius). 

Separate the seeds from the pumpkin glop (using 'jack-o'-lantern'). Rinse and pat them dry with a paper towel. Put the seeds in the baking pan.

Drizzle the olive oil over the pumpkin seeds and then sprinkle them with salt. Stir the seeds to coat them with oil, then spread them out evenly over the bottom of the baking pan.

Cook for 10 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and stir the seeds. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes until the seeds are golden brown.

Let the seeds cool, then transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the extra oil.

Alternatively, experiment by adding other spices to see what flavor works for you the best!

Method 2:

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. 

Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and light roast them in a 160-170°F (about 75°C) oven for 15-20 minutes. By roasting them for a short time at a low temperature you can help to preserve their healthy oils.

Serving Ideas

Here is what we do with them. Basically, we open the airtight jar in which we store our pumpkin seeds, pour some into hour hands or into a little container and eat them! Mr. Junior also has a mixture of seeds, nuts and dried berries in his little snack container when out and about more of than not. Additionally, at times, we add some seeds such as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds to our salads.

If you would like to learn about more serving ideas, read these:

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 healthy sautéed vegetables. 

Note: For further reading on pumpkin seeds, you can check out this website as well as this one.

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