If you are one of those pumpkin carvers who throws out the seeds, think again. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, protein, and more. Wondering what to do with pumpkin seeds? They are easy to prepare and work not only as a snack, but also in savory and sweet recipes.
What to Do with Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkins are pretty easy to grow and a common supermarket staple in fall. Most of us will have the occasion to carve one up and make it a jack-o-lantern or simply roast it for pie. Before you do either though, you need to clean out the guts and seeds. Stop yourself before dumping them out. There are many pumpkin seed uses and the benefits are worth the processing time.
Once you extract the seeds from the slimy pulp, the options are broad. In most cases, the seeds should be roasted to bring out their best flavor. Rinse the seeds and toss them with some melted butter or oil. You can choose to salt them or get really crazy with seasonings like jerk, taco, or anything else you fancy.
Roast them in a medium low oven, stirring often, until the seeds are lightly browned and crunchy. You can now use them just like this as a snack, salad topper, or garnish on dessert. You might also try using pumpkin seeds a step further and incorporate them into recipes like pesto or nut brittle.
Pumpkin Seed Benefits
For a throw away by-product, pumpkin seeds contain a remarkable number of uses and benefits. There is a ton of manganese and magnesium, but also a fair amount of phosphorus, iron, and vitamin K. Antioxidants like carotenoids and Vitamin E may have the ability to reduce inflammation.
Among the potential health benefits are improved bladder and prostate health, as well as some indication that consumption can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. A 12-week study on women found wonderful pumpkin seed benefits in the forms of lower blood pressure, higher levels of good cholesterol, and overall improved heart health.
How to Use Pumpkin Seeds
Many cooks find that purchasing the oil is the easiest way of using pumpkin seeds. Many organic and natural food stores will carry the oil. Of course, as a snack is the most common of pumpkin seed uses.
Puree toasted seeds and use them in place of peanut butter or as part of dips and other spreads. In sweet dishes, they are fun to add to cookies, candies, cakes, muffins, and breads. As a savory component to recipes, pumpkin seeds go with almost any national cuisine and are versatile enough to carry a dish.