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Everything That You Need to Know About Pumpkin Seeds

  • By JC's
  • September 18, 2019
  • In News

Feeling peckish but not sure what to eat? Try grabbing a handful of Pumpkin Seeds. Not only do they taste delicious, but they are also nutrient rich and super easy to find. Just keep an eye out for flat, oval-shaped green seeds and you’ll know that you’re on the right track. Pumpkin seeds are usually roasted and make for a great snack on their own or a fantastic addition to a range of recipes. Expect a warm, nutty flavour and plenty of crunch with each bite. Pumpkin Seeds are also known as Pepitas, and are popular all across the world.

History

 

Pumpkin seeds have been consumed for many years and show no sign of going anywhere anytime soon. Pumpkins themselves are thought to have first been discovered in North America and were widely used by Native Americans. Actual pumpkin seeds have been found in Mexico and date back as far as 7000 B.C. Pumpkin seeds have been eaten throughout history for sustenance and medicinal purposes too. For example, pumpkin seeds were given to sick people as a means to expel parasitic worms and intestinal parasites from the body. As a result, they were listed as an antiparasitic in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1863 to 1936. Today, some of the largest producers in the world include Mexico, the United States, China and New Zealand.

 

Bonus point: Pumpkins were named after the Greek word for large melon – ‘pepon’.

Health Benefits

Keep your overall health in order by including pumpkin seeds in your diet and you won’t go back. Expect a range of benefits that keep you looking and feeling fantastic. Pumpkin seeds offer the following advantages:

 

  • Bone health – you’ll be boosting your magnesium levels which is great for bone development, maintenance and repair. A high amount of magnesium is linked to improved bone density which can help to reduce the onset of a range of debilitating issues later in life. In particular, osteoporosis in women following menopause.
  • Reduced chance of diabetes – pumpkin seeds contain many nutrients that can help to prevent type 2 diabetes. The large concentration of antioxidants found in these seeds limits the impact of reactive oxygen species, which is a complicated way of saying that they are good for your health and fighting off diabetes.
  • Pregnancy benefits – zinc is important during the pregnancy cycle because it triggers protein synthesis that leads to growth. Pregnant women in particular need high levels of zinc to ensure optimal health for themselves and their baby. Pumpkin seeds provide this and more.
  • Improved sleep – as mentioned above, pumpkin seeds provide a great source of magnesium which is vital for sleep. You’ll find yourself better able to relax and unwind after a stressful day. The end result? A better night’s sleep and improved energy levels to boot.
  • Better sexual health – studies conducted in Egypt have indicated that pumpkin seeds can assist with sexual function and may even act as an aphrodisiac. There’s also the suggestion that people suffering with urinary disorders can experience improvements by consuming pumpkin seeds. Similarly, prostate health in men may be improved too.
How to plant Pepitas

 

When it comes to growing pumpkins, it’s important to be aware that you will need a lot of space. Other than that, they can be relatively easy to grow. Be sure to protect your crop from cold, frosty conditions and look for a warm soil that is rich in nutrients and not too moist. The pumpkin seeds should be dug one inch into the ground and covered with soil for optimal coverage. It can take up to 100 days for your pumpkins to become fully grown.

Harvesting the seeds

 

Once ripe, pumpkins are cut open at the top using a sharp knife and the pulp/seeds are scraped out using a spoon or similar instrument. The seeds are then separated from the pulp and washed in water to remove any dirt or grime.

 

How to eat Pepitas

 

There are lots of ways to eat pumpkin seeds and to include them in your diet. They can be eaten raw, roasted or combined with other ingredients to create delicious meals for the whole family. We love roasting pumpkin seeds in particular because the process is easy and rewarding.

 

How to roast Pepitas

 

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds is a fantastic way to have fun in the kitchen. 

To start, scrape the seeds out of your pumpkin using a flat spoon and pull away any flesh or string from inside.

Rinse the collected seeds thoroughly before spreading evenly across a greased baking dish. 

Feel free to add flavourings like salt, fennel seeds or chilli flakes before drizzling with a few generous glugs of olive oil. 

Mix everything together and bake in the oven at 180°C for 10 minutes or until the seeds are lightly golden brown. 

Leave to cool and store in an airtight container so you can tuck into roasted pumpkin seeds whenever you wish.

 

Interesting Facts about Pepitas
  1. Oil can be made from pumpkin seeds. It has a low smoking point and will become bitter quickly, so it’s best used in combination with other ingredients to make things like salad dressings.
  2. Pumpkins are actually a type of squash.
  3. All parts of the pumpkin are good for you, especially the seeds!
  4. Pumpkin Seeds have a white shell.

 

Bonus Recipe!

Check out these delicious Pepita and Chocolate Christmas Trees