Toasted Pumpkin Seeds with CuminWritten by Karen on October 20th, 2009
It’s pumpkin season everywhere, from the field to the farmers’ markets and beyond. And while the most common and popular is the orange Jack-o-Lantern type for carving, it doesn’t provide the velvety flesh that some of its relatives do. The sugar-pie pumpkin is similar in color but better for baking, as it is nutty and sweet. And there are many savory types of this winter squash as well, all with their own distinctive flavor. One thing for certain is that fresh baked pumpkin far outweighs canned for taste and texture. But don’t discard the seeds! They are so versatile, healthy, and easy to make from scratch.Pumpkin, a member of the Cucurbita family including squash and cucumbers, got its name from the Greek word “pepon” for large melon. Seeds (pepitas) from related plants have been found in Mexico, dating back over 7000 years to 5500 B.C. It is antioxidant rich on its own, but the seeds pack a nutritional punch. Just look at this impressive list of health benefits with the help of “Eat This:”
They promote overall prostate health and alleviate the difficult urination associated with an enlarged prostate.
They contain L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
Because they are high in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis. Low intake of zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis.
Pumpkin seeds effectively reduce inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Prevention of Kidney Stones
They prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation, according to studies.
Great Source of Magnesium
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds contains 92% of your daily value of magnesium, a mineral in which most Americans are deficient.
Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.
The same phytosterols that lower cholesterol also protect against many cancers.
With their high content of zinc and Omega 3s, pumpkin seeds are often used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Here’s a slight twist on an otherwise simple recipe. I add them to dishes morning and night, from oatmeal and muffins to salads and chili.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds with Cumin
1.5 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds, cleaned and dried
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pinch salt
1 tsp. cumin
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Toss seeds in a bowl with olive oil, cumin and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stirring every 15 minutes.
This recipe is part of Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter