Pumpkin is native to North America, and is a gourd-like squash. It is from the cucurbitaceae family of plants.
The word itself comes from the Greek word pepon, which means large melon. In France the word was adapted into pompon, which then the British changed to pumpion. The early American colonists later changed it to pumpkin. Pumpkin seeds dating back to around 7000 BC were found in Mexico. This is the oldest evidence of pumpkins.
Pumpkins are considered a fruit, and are grown worldwide both in private gardens, as well as for commercial use. It is one of the most popular crops in the United States, with over 1 billion pounds grown each year. Pumpkins, on
average weigh about 8-10 pounds.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
When most people carve their pumpkins at Halloween, those precious seeds get tossed. People don’t realize that pumpkin seeds are not only delicious, but healthy for you.
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. They are a little high in calories, so you don’t want to over do, but the high calorie content comes from it’s mono-unsaturated fat oleic acid, that helps to lower cholesterol naturally.
Pumpkin seeds provide about 50% of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for protein. They are also a great source for vitamin E, B Complex, niacin and high levels of essential minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
Pumpkin seeds contain a high number of anti-oxidants, and because of this, the oils in pumpkin seed can act as an anti-inflammatory to reduce inflammation in some case of arthritis.
Pumpkin seeds contain a natural compound called phytosterols. Phytosterols are similar to the cholesterol inside our bodies. When a person eats enough phytosterols, it is believed that they reduce the levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Tasty Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: About 2 cups
2 cups pumpkin seeds, fresh from pumpkin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, more or less to suit taste
Clean pumpkin seeds and set aside.
Mix all spices together in a bowl.
Add seeds to spice mix and toss to cover all seeds. Be sure that all seeds get coated evenly.
Spray cookie baking sheet with non fat cooking spray, or lightly coat with oil.
Spread seeds onto cookie baking sheet in an even layer.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Time will vary depending on oven temperatures. Each over varies.
After 2-5 minutes, turn them over. Using a spatula, flip them as best you can so they toast on both sides.
Keep a close eye on them. They can burn very quickly.
Delicious With So Many Meals
You can eat the pumpkin seeds raw, as is, right out of the pumpkin. You can add them to pumpkin soup or any kind of soup that would benefit from a nutty flavor.
You can add the seeds to your favorite salad recipe. Just sprinkle a few on top.
Pumpkin seeds will give any dish a delicious nutty flavor. Try them in your favorite dish.
You can buy raw pumpkin seeds in most health food, or natural food stores.
Got A Sweet Tooth?
For those who have a sweet tooth, you can also mix up a batch of sweet flavored pumpkin seeds. The balance of sweet, with the nutty flavor of the seed is absolutely delicious.
2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp maple granules or maple syrup- more or less to suit that sweet tooth.
Clean pumpkin seeds.
Put the seeds into a plastic bag. Add the maple. Close bag tightly and shake.
You can eat them raw, or cook them with the above recipe. Maple syrup can burn quickly. Keep a close eye on them during the cooking process.
If you have a sweet tooth, and a love of chocolate, mix in 1 tbsp pure cocoa powder (not hot chocolate) to the maple mix. Put in the bag, and close the bag tightly. Shake well to get them all evenly coated.
Read more about the Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds.