With the taste of the Thanksgiving pumpkin pie still fresh in my mind and a few pieces of last week’s batch of pumpkin-seed brittle still floating around on the counter top, I suppose it’s no wonder that I’m still thinking pumpkins. Specifically I’m thinking about pumpkin seeds and the many tasty, yet very healthy benefits they provide. They’re really a little miracle snack.
Pumpkin seeds often mimic nuts in their nutrition content. Whereas nut allergies are common, however, allergies to pumpkin seeds are very rare. This makes them a great substitute for people who are sensitive to nuts but still want the health benefits.
Pumpkin seeds are high in both protein and iron (making them a great alternative for vegetarians who don’t want to rely on meat for their iron needs). They’re also a great a source of fiber, as well as containing needed A,B and C vitamins. Pumpkin seeds have high levels of antioxidants, and are rich in minerals such as copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
Like most foods, eating the seeds raw is the best way to retain all the nutrients, however, most people prefer to roast them. While this takes away some of the health benefits (just like cooking veggies), they’re still loaded with good things. The most common way is to spread them on a cookie sheet with a little salt or sometimes garlic power and roast the seeds in the oven. I’ve found roasted pumpkin seeds disappear faster than popcorn at my house! They can also be used like nuts and added to any baked items such as cookies, brownies, granola, or my new favorite: pumpkin-seed brittle.
For those who want the pumpkin seeds benefits, but don’t particularly care for pumpkin seeds themselves, pumpkin seeds oil is commercially available. Pumpkin seed oil is made from the pressed seeds of the pumpkin. It is much like sunflower seed oil or other such oils and can be used in many cooking recipes. It can also be used as a base for salad dressing.
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf