How To Clean and Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Autumn is right around the corner, so that means it’s time to harvest pumpkins. Pumpkins are famous decors for Halloween and a lot of American houses make it a point to decorate their homes with different shapes and sizes of pumpkins.
While children get so excited with the shell of the pumpkin, adults can use what’s inside of it for a healthy snack. That’s right, the seeds you find inside a pumpkin are not meant to be thrown away. In fact, when cooked properly, roasted pumpkin seeds are a healthy alternative to your junk foods.
Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
A lot of people are saying that pumpkin seeds are healthy snacks. But what makes them healthy? Here are some facts about pumpkin seeds and their benefits.
- Rich in Antioxidants
One of the most notable nutrients in pumpkin seeds is antioxidants, specifically carotenoids and vitamin E. These antioxidants help reduce the chances of inflammation in the body. It’s also good protection from free radicals and toxins.
- High in Magnesium Content
Pumpkin seeds also have high magnesium content which is an important mineral in maintaining at least 600 chemical reactions in the body. Some of those chemical reactions involve maintaining blood pressure, forming healthy bones, and regulating sugar levels. To add to that, enough magnesium in the body can help reduce heart-related diseases.
- Improve Bladder Health
Research shows that the consumption of pumpkin seeds helps prevent the accumulation of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH refers to the condition where the prostate gland gets large which causes men to have problems with urination.
Prostate problems are common among men and one of the ways this from happening is by consuming pumpkin seeds regularly. More studies show that pumpkin seeds can also help maintain good bladder functions.
- Reduced Risk in Heart Diseases
The combination of antioxidants, zinc, and magnesium make pumpkin seeds a good way to lessen heart-related diseases. Animal studies prove that those who consume pumpkin seed oil have lower cholesterol levels as compared to those who did not take the oil.
Further research also states that pumpkin seeds have an inherent ability to expand blood vessels. The larger the blood vessels, the more blood, and oxygen can be transported to your body.
- High in Fiber
Did you know that dietary fiber is an important nutrient that helps maintain proper digestion? A 28-gram consumption of pumpkin seeds can already provide you 1.1 grams of fiber. If you are not a fan of green leafy vegetables, you can choose to consume more pumpkin seeds instead.
It is also known that high dietary fiber in the body can help reduce inflammation of the digestive tract and prevent the chances of getting obese.
- Helps Improve Sleep
Having trouble sleeping? Munching on a bag of pumpkin seeds can just help get that sleepy feeling so you can sleep earlier and more soundly.
This is due to the fact that pumpkin seeds are a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid that is responsible for promoting sleep in humans. Take note, though, that in order for this to be effective, you have to consume around 200 grams.
- Great Alternative to Junk Foods
If you have a need to munch on food while you work or in between meals, pumpkin seeds can give you that. Unlike junk foods that do not have any health benefits, pumpkin seeds help promote healthier bodies. It is also a good source of healthy fats to help you achieve your weight loss goals. However, make sure that when you eat a lot of pumpkin seeds, you are not adding more salt to the mix.
How To Clean Pumpkin Seeds
If you have a pumpkin or squash at home, here is an easy tutorial on how to clean pumpkin seeds or squash seeds. Note that squash seeds like spaghetti squash seeds and butternut squash seeds are prepared in the same way you prepare pumpkin seeds. This is because the two are in the same vegetable family.
The first thing you have to do is to open the pumpkin on top. Once you have a medium-sized hole that can fit your hand, simply grab the pumpkin seeds from the inside. The seeds are right in the middle of the pumpkin or squash so it’s very easy to get every seed inside.
Place the seeds in a bowl of water. Soak the seeds for a few seconds just to remove the bits of pumpkin or squash clinging to them. However, you don’t need to thoroughly clean the seeds as the residue of the pumpkin or squash adds a nutty flavor. Some choose not to clean the seeds at all.
How To Roast Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
Roasted squash seeds and pumpkin seeds are easy to make. All you need is some oil, salt, and a few spices if you want to add flavor to it. Here’s a step-by-step guide on prepping and creating toasted pumpkin seeds.
- Pumpkin seeds or squash seeds
- Cooking oil (i.e. canola)
- Spices (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. While waiting, place the cleaned pumpkin seeds on a bowl. You can wash them for the second time and then drain them using a strainer.
- Place the drained seeds on a baking tray and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
- Once dried, pour a small amount of oil all over the seeds. ¾ cup of oil is enough.
- Season the seeds with salt. You may add the spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cumin after adding the salt.
- Mix the seeds together to make sure that the oil, salt, and spices are evenly spread. Once done, lay them out on a single layer. Minimal overlapping is okay.
- Place the seeds in the oven and heat them for around 20-25 minutes. Make sure to check them after 15 minutes to make sure they aren’t getting burned.
- Once they are toasted, bring them out and let them cool on the baking tray.
Pumpkin seeds and squash seeds are great for snacking this autumn. You can experiment with them and use different kinds of spices to achieve different flavors.