Pumpkin is used to prepare dishes, like the pumpkin pie. While the flesh is used for cooking various delicacies, the seeds of this vegetable are often scraped out and thrown away. Many people are unaware of the health benefits of pumpkin seeds. Apart from the chewy texture, nutty flavor, and light sweetness, these seeds are rich in nutrients too. They contain vitamin A, beta carotene, folate, protein, zinc, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and phytosterols. You can enjoy these seeds as a tasty snack, and at the same time, reap their health benefits. Usually, the roasted seeds (popularly known as pepitas) are used for consumption.
Prepare Pumpkin Seeds
The reason why most people hesitate to cook pumpkin seeds is that, they find it messy to remove the stringy pulp and clean the seeds. All you have to do is to remove the pulp, and put it in a colander. Keep the colander under running water and swish it. The pulp will get flushed out, leaving the clean seeds in the colander. Leave the seeds in the colander for some time, so that the water drains out completely. Once done, spread the seeds on a platter, and let them dry for around ten to twelve hours. It is better to keep them overnight. The dried seeds are ready for roasting.
Pre-heat the oven to a temperature of 250°F. Spread the dried seeds on a cookie sheet, and add your favorite spices. Sprinkle a few drops of olive oil or butter. Toss the seeds, so that the spices and oil coat the seeds in an even manner. Roast the seeds in the oven for an hour. Make sure to turn the seeds in every fifteen minutes. Remove the seeds from the oven, as they become golden brown in color. Allow them to cool, before storage or consumption.
Put the dried seeds in a microwave-safe rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle oil and spices, and toss well. Spread the seeds on the dish, in a single layer. Heat the microwave on high for around 30 minutes. Cook the seeds for eight to ten minutes. The microwave should be on high, but you should turn the seeds once in every two minutes. You can remove the dish from the microwave, as the seeds turn golden brown in color. Your roasted pumpkin seeds are ready.
You can also toast these seeds in a skillet. Take a skillet with a thick bottom, and heat it. Put two teaspoons of butter or vegetable oil. If you are using butter, wait till it melts. Add the seeds to the skillet, and toast for around eight to ten minutes. Stir the seeds, so that they do not get burnt. As the seeds get brownish, you can turn off the stove. Transfer the seeds in the skillet to a flat dish. Sprinkle salt and other spices of your choice, and enjoy your toasted pumpkin seeds.
Roasted pumpkin seeds can be prepared at home, without much effort. So, save the seeds the next time you purchase pumpkin.