The Healthiest Way to Enjoy Pumpkin
This time of year, pumpkin is everywhere: pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin doughnuts, and pumpkin ice cream, just to name a few. If you love pumpkin, this time of year is full of temptation. While a little indulgence can be a good thing, a lot can wreak havoc with your health. So what's a pumpkin lover to do? There are several options, but one of the simplest and most healthy is to roast your own pumpkin seeds.
If you carve a pumpkin for Halloween, set this information aside to use each year. If you use whole pumpkins to prepare other recipes, you have many chances to enjoy this treat.
Of course, you can buy pumpkin seeds already roasted, but there are so many advantages to making your own. If you're already cutting open a whole pumpkin, the seeds are ready for roasting, and it won't cost you any extra. When you roast them yourself, you can add the seasonings and spices you like best. And who can resist roast pumpkin seeds, hot off the cookie sheet? If you don't enjoy snacking on them, they can garnish a salad, or make a great homemade gift.
Pumpkin seeds can be sweet, savory, or downright spicy. Have fun experimenting, or look online for combinations that interest you. Here is a very basic recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds. Consider it a jumping off place, and let your creativity take over.
First, wash the seeds. Most methods suggest scooping out the middle of the pumpkin and placing it all in a bowl of cold water. Separate the stringy pulp from the seeds.
Optionally, boil the seeds. Many online sources suggest simmering the seeds in lightly salted water for about ten minutes. This will apparently keep the inner seeds from getting done bfore the outer shells. Some people swear by this method, while others say it is not necessary.
Next, dry the seeds. Place them in a sieve, and pat dry with towels.
Drizzle the seeds with oil. In general, about 1 teaspoon oil per cup of seeds is suggested. Mix the seeds to coat them thoroughly.
Spread, sprinkle, and stir: Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt or any spices and seasonings you like. You can bake them in a preheated 325 degree oven for about twenty-five minutes. If you prefer not to preheat, just add an additional five minutes. Be sure to stir the seeds every ten or so minutes.
Once they are cool, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week, or in the refrigerator for one to two months.
With roast pumpkin seeds, you get a snack that is rich in iron, magnesium, fiber, zinc, potassium, healthy fats, protein, and tryptophan (which can boost your mood and help you sleep).