Save those pumpkin seeds!
I have been reading more and more benefits of seeds...something we usually just toss in the trash. When my kids were small we roasted pumpkin seeds "for fun." I know it is still a couple months until we will be buying those fall pumpkins, but start looking at ways to use the seeds now and be ready!
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
1. Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings. (This is easiest just after you've removed the seeds from the pumpkin, before the pulp has dried.)
2. Place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat. If you prefer, omit the oil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325 degrees F until toasted, about 25 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes.
4. Let cool and store in an air-tight container.
Health benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Crunchy pumpkin seeds are high in calories, but they are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and numerous health promoting antioxidants. Their high caloric content mainly comes from protein and fats. On the positive side, the nuts are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids that helps lower bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol in the blood. (My doctor will love that part!)
The seeds contain good quality protein. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of Vitamin E. It prevents tissue cells from the free radical mediated oxidant injury. Thus, it helps maintain the integrity of mucus membranes and skin by protecting from harmful oxygen free radicals.
Pumpkin kernels are also excellent source of B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates. The niacin helps reduce LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood. Along with glutamate, it enhances activity inside the brain, which in turn helps reduce anxiety and neurosis.
The seeds also contain very good levels of essential minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Just like pine nuts, pumpkin seeds are very rich in manganese, pines are one of the richest sources of manganese.
There is lots more information out there about Pumpkin Seed benefits...but you get the idea. They are a good healthy snack and would be good in a trail mix or other dishes.