Many of us will be elbow-deep in pumpkins in the upcoming week, plopping out the inner machinations of our jack-o-lanterns on yesterday’s newspaper, unaware that there is a healthy and delicious treat literally at our fingertips that may be otherwise headed for the green bin.
Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas are a great snack, and preparing them is a fun way to wile away an hour while getting the most bang for your pumpkin buck. Long a staple in Mexican cooking, pepitas can be used in a variety of ways. Tossing a handful of the nut-like seeds into salads or sautéed veggies adds crunch and complexity, and pumpkin seeds in granola or hot cereal, or thrown into your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe boosts the flavour and nutrition.
Of course, you can eat them out of hand on their own or in a trail mix. Packed with protein, magnesium, manganese, copper iron and zinc, the little gems are as healthy as they are tasty, and much more fun to munch on than a Flintstone vitamin. Furthermore, pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan and have been linked to a reduction in anxiety and clinical depression.
To prepare, remove the seeds from the pumpkin and use a towel to clean any pumpkin pulp. Lay them on a cookie sheet and roast them in the oven at 170 degrees F for about 15 minutes.