Pumpkins have many uses, and the one that gets the most attention is the beloved Jack-O-Lantern…and that makes sense.
The smell of a roasting pumpkin casserole in the oven is to die for, pumpkin pie is a Fall staple for many, and pumpkins are an amazing natural preventative for parasites amongst our beloved farm animals.
What. About. Those. Seeds!
Often tossed aside after an afternoon of carving, pumpkin seeds have a lot to offer as well.
Read on to learn about the nutritional benefits and a classic roasting recipe for overlooked pumpkin seeds.
Nutritional Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkins seeds not only taste amazing, and can be souped up with all different kinds of flavors, they’re also jam-packed with nutrition known to improve heart health.
Full of good fats, zinc, antioxidants, iron, and magnesium, whole roasted pumpkin seeds are also great combatants of other health issues like prostate problems.
According to the USDA, one ounce of saltless pumpkin seeds of 126 calories contains:
- Fiber: 5.22 grams
- Carbs: 15.2 grams
- Protein: 5.26 grams
- Fat: 5.5 grams (healthy fats!)
Pumpkin Carving 101
Getting excited about noshing on some seeds?
Well, first you need to get to them. These aren’t the shell-free seeds from the grocery store…these are the whole shebang right from inside the pumpkin—and you can eat the whole shebang as well, no worries!
1. Wash the Pumpkin
Chances are, your pumpkin has been sitting in the patch for a while. If you’ve purchased yours from the grocery store, herbicides are a possibility. To prevent any chemicals getting into your seeds, wash the outside of your pumpkin thoroughly.
If it’s your homegrown pumpkin from a clean patch, simply rinse and dry!
2. Carve Carefully
Using a carving knife, cut a large opening on the top of the pumpkin. Be careful because this is easier said than done. Use small cuts rather than trying to cut around the stem with one motion.
3. Scoop Out The Pulp and Seeds
With a large, sturdy, spoon, scrape the insides of your pumpkin out…goo and all.
Put the pulp on a flat surface so you can sort through and remove the large pieces of pulp before washing.
How to Clean Pumpkin Seeds Before Roasting
Now that you’ve got a bit of a mess on your hands…and the floor, and table, and if you’ve got kiddos maybe even the walls, it’s time to get the gunk off the seeds.
The best way to do this is in a colander, under cold water. This makes it easier to pull the pulp strings off the seeds.
Don’t worry if you can’t get all the pulp off the seeds. Once you have them in the oven the pulp will shrink and the smaller pieces will dry up completely.
With that being said, make sure you remove the larger chunks of pulp so the seeds have the best chance of drying.
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds in Your Oven
It’s time to pop those pumpkin seeds in the oven. We are going for simplicity here and with very little work or ingredients, you will be enjoying a nutritious snack in no time.
Let’s get started:
What You’ll Need:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Aluminum Foil
- Cookie Sheet
Some prefer to use olive oil or butter while roasting their seeds, but salt sticks well-enough to the gooey pumpkin seeds so it isn’t necessary.
Classic Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe
- Place cleaned, semi-dry, seeds on an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet
- Arrange seeds in a single layer
- Sprinkle with sea salt to taste
- Toss the seeds
- Bake in a 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes stirring halfway through the cooking time.
Let cool and dig in during movie night!
You can jazz up your recipe with garlic powder, paprika, butter, ranch…the possibilities are endless and your family will have a favorite eventually, but the classic recipe is always a sure thing!