When you get ready to carve your pumpkin into a spooky jack o’ lantern, don’t forget to save the pumpkin seeds. Not only are toasted pumpkin seeds delicious, they also have great health benefits.
Make your own roasted pumpkin seeds in less than 20 minutes for a snack that may also help with many health issues including lowering cholesterol, the prevention of kidney stones and to aid in the treatment of depression.
The little seeds that many throw away when scooping out a pumpkin are also a great source of magnesium, protein, vitamin K, zinc, iron, and other important vitamins. One half cup of pumpkin seeds contains 92% of your daily value of magnesium. Take advantage of the insides of the pumpkin you are carving and toast the seeds.
How to Make Toasted Pumpkin Seeds:
- Remove the seeds from the pumpkin’s inner cavity and wipe them off with a paper towel to remove excess pulp.
- Spread them out evenly on a paper bag and let them dry out overnight.
- Preheat oven to low – 160-170º F
- Place the seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
- Roast them lightly for 15-20 minutes. Roasting pumpkin seeds for a short time at a low temperature helps to preserve their healthy oils. (continue below)
Cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Pumpkin seeds last one to two months, so eat them as a snack, add them to a green salad or grind them up into a fabulous pesto.
Wondering about some of the health benefits that might be derived from pumpkin seeds?
Depression Treatment: Pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan, a compound found to be naturally effective against depression.
Prevention of Osteoporosis: High in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis. A low intake of zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis.
Natural Anti-Inflammatory: Pumpkin seeds may aid in the reduction of inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Prevention of Kidney Stones: Studies indicate that pumpkin seeds can help prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.
Lower Cholesterol: Inside that little seed is a compound named phytosterols, known to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.
Pumpkin seeds are most popular in the fall when everyone is carving jack o’ lanterns for Halloween. With all of the health benefits these tasty seeds can bring, it makes sense to keep pumpkin seeds in your pantry year round.