Whether you are carving pumpkins or baking fresh pumpkin recipes, there is no reason to throw away perfectly good pumpkin seeds that can be eaten as a healthy snack. In my household, we believe that no food should go to waste. Pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients, and with a little seasoning, you can turn them into delicious and healthy snacks that you won't stop eating. If you want the maximum health benefits, you can enjoy them raw! That is right. You can clean the pumpkin seeds and just enjoy them as they are.
Cleaning pumpkin seeds is super easy, and it is totally worth it. To clean pumpkin seeds, you only need 5 to 10 minutes. Once you learn how to clean pumpkin seeds and turn them into delicious snacks, you will never toss them out again. The possibilities are endless, whether you like traditional salty roasted pumpkin seeds or curry powder pumpkin seeds. In this post, you will learn how to clean pumpkin seeds so you can turn them into delicious and healthy snacks this season.
How To Clean Pumpkin Seeds
Step 1: Scoop the pumpkin seeds out of the pumpkin.
Scoop out the pumpkin seeds and place them in a large bowl. Submerge the seeds in a bowl of water, allowing the process to separate the clean seeds as they rise to the surface.
If you have a pumpkin carving kit at home, you can use the scooper in the kit. If a kit is unavailable, pinch away any pumpkin pulp, flesh, and strings. Some people prefer not removing the string because it adds more flavor to pumpkin seed when roasted, so this is a personal preference. Regardless, don't get too obsessive about removing the strings. If you see any flat seeds, also remove them because they are inedible.
Step Two: Run Under Cold Water
Add cold water to your large bowl and wash off any extra pumpkin pulp. Rinse a few times to get the squishy pumpkin off, but don't get too obsessive that you can't remove everything. This is perfectly normal if your pumpkin has this "slimy" feel.
Once the seeds are loose, they will float. Scoop the floating seeds out and place them in a colander. You will only want to take out the ones that are hard and filled with seeds, and the flat ones are entirely inedible and should be thrown away. Once you have all the seeds in the colander, rinse the water over it one more time.
Step Three: soaking The Pumpkin Seeds (optional)
Soaking pumpkin seeds in a solution of 1/2 tablespoon of salt per every 2 cups of water serves as a valuable prelude to roasting. Recommend to soak for minimum 6 hours, up to 24 hours. This technique offers a dual advantage.
Firstly, it helps reduce the presence of potential bacteria on the seeds' surface, enhancing their safety for consumption. Secondly, the saltwater bath effectively mitigates the phytic acid content present in the seeds. Phytic acid, an anti-nutrient, can inhibit the absorption of essential minerals. By soaking the seeds, this acid diminishes, making the nutrients within the seeds more accessible to our bodies upon consumption.
Step Four: Drying
Once you wash or boil your pumpkin seeds, transfer cleaned pumpkin seeds to a clean dish towel or paper towel. Dry pumpkin seeds by patting or pressing them to get rid of as much moisture as possible; there is no need to let them dry overnight. At this point, you can decide if you want to enjoy them raw, roasted, or boiled.
How To Roast Pumpkin Seeds And Turn Into Delicious Snack
There are many roasted pumpkin seeds recipes out there. From savory to sweet, it is up to you how you want to flavor it.
- To roast your pumpkin seeds, toss your clean pumpkin seeds with a little avocado or olive oil, and add any spices or seasoning you like. For a sweet variation, you can choose a simple option like salt or get creative with spices like garlic powder, paprika, or cinnamon. Coat the seeds evenly with the seasoning.
- Once you have seasoned your pumpkin seeds, place the baking sheet or parchment paper in a large baking pan and place your pumpkin seeds in the baking pan. For even roasting, ensure that the pumpkin seeds are arranged in a single layer, avoiding any overlap or stacking, allowing them to roast uniformly.
- Then bake at 300F for about 20 to 25 minutes. If it is baking unevenly, be sure to stir midway and flip the seeds with a spatula.
- Once they turn slightly brown, remove the pumpkin seeds from the oven and let them cool down.
- Store your roasted pumpkin seeds at room temperature.
Boiling Pumpkin Seeds
Another method to enjoy the pumpkin seeds is to boil them with spices—this way, the pumpkin seeds are infused with flavor. If you plan to boil it, note that the seeds will not come out crunchy, but it is just as delicious as seeds infused with spices and flavor. If you are boiling them, you can enjoy them as soon as they are done. Or, if you changed your mind, you could still roast pumpkin seeds in the oven. If you roast them after boiling, you don't need to add as many spices since they have already been infused with flavor.
To boil, add salt and any spices you want and let it boil for about 10 minutes. Once they are done, drain the water, place the pumpkin seeds on a clean towel, and pat dry. Once they are dried, store them in an airtight container and store them at room temperature.
How To Store Pumpkin Seeds
Store your roasted or boiled pumpkin seeds in an airtight container and leave them at room temperature. Before putting them into the container, make sure the pumpkin seeds cool down because you don't want to introduce moisture into your container. If you boil them, make sure they are dried before putting them into a container.
What Size Pumpkin Is Best For Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
For the best-roasted pumpkin seeds, it's recommended to use medium-sized pumpkins. The ideal size for pumpkins that yield the best roasted pumpkin seeds is typically in the range of 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) in diameter. Medium-sized pumpkins tend to have a good balance of seed size and flesh-to-seed ratio, making them ideal for roasting. They provide an adequate amount of seeds to work with, and the seeds are usually plump and flavorful.
Smaller pumpkins may have smaller seeds, which can be more challenging to work with and may require more effort to extract. Larger pumpkins, on the other hand, tend to have larger seeds, but they may have a higher moisture content and can be less desirable for roasting.
How To Flavor Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
To flavor the roasted pumpkin seeds, combine the seeds with your chosen seasoning or mixture in a bowl. Thoroughly coat the pumpkin seeds with the seasoning, ensuring an even distribution. Feel free to adjust the amount of seasoning to match your personal taste preferences. Flavoring roasted pumpkin seeds is a fun and creative way to elevate their taste. Here are some popular methods to flavor roasted pumpkin seeds:
If you are craving a salty snack, toss the roasted pumpkin seeds with some fine sea salt or Himalayan salt for a classic and savory flavor. Adjust the amount of salt to suit your taste preferences.
Sprinkle the roasted seeds with a blend of spices to add depth and complexity. Common spice combinations include garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, or a premade seasoning blend like pumpkin spice.
Sweet and Cinnamon
For a sweet variation, combine the roasted pumpkin seeds with a mixture of cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup and a touch of melted butter, coconut oil, or olive oil. This creates a delectable and aromatic treat.
Savory Herb Blend
Mix the roasted seeds with dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, or a herb blend of your choice. This imparts a savory and fragrant flavor profile.
Add a burst of citrusy freshness by tossing the roasted seeds with grated lemon or lime zest. This provides a tangy and refreshing twist.
For a cheesy flavor, sprinkle the roasted seeds with grated Parmesan or cheddar cheese, along with a pinch of garlic powder. Bake them for an additional few minutes to melt the cheese slightly.
Infuse a smoky flavor by using smoked paprika or a sprinkle of liquid smoke to add depth and complexity to the roasted seeds.
Toss the roasted seeds with grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and a dash of salt for a savory, umami-packed flavor.
Drizzle the roasted pumpkin seeds with a touch of honey and sprinkle with ground cinnamon for a sweet and warmly spiced flavor.
Create an exotic taste by coating the roasted seeds with curry powder, turmeric, and a pinch of salt for a unique and flavorful experience.
Coat the seeds with a mixture of dried herbs such as dried rosemary, thyme, oregano, or a herb blend for a fragrant and savory twist.
What Are Pumpkin Seeds Good For
Nutritional Powerhouse: Pumpkin seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, boasting an array of essential nutrients. They are abundant in protein, healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins such as vitamin K, vitamin E, and various B vitamins. In addition, pumpkin seeds are rich in important minerals including magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium.
Rich in Antioxidants: Pumpkin seeds are a natural source of antioxidants, including vitamin E and carotenoids. These powerful antioxidants play a crucial role in safeguarding the body's cells against oxidative damage caused by harmful free radicals. By incorporating pumpkin seeds into your diet, you can support your body's defense system and promote overall well-being.
Heart Health: The high levels of magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants in pumpkin seeds contribute to heart health. They can help regulate blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and support overall cardiovascular well-being.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Pumpkin seeds contain various compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, including antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. The anti-inflammatory properties found in pumpkin seeds can contribute to reducing inflammation within the body, which is associated with various chronic diseases. By incorporating pumpkin seeds into your diet, you may support your body's natural anti-inflammatory processes, promoting overall health and well-being.
Prostate Health: For generations, pumpkin seeds have been linked to the promotion of prostate health. They contain phytosterols, which may help reduce the risk of an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and support overall prostate health.
Digestive Health: Pumpkin seeds are rich in dietary fiber, which plays a crucial role in supporting healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. Additionally, pumpkin seeds contain compounds that may help protect against certain gastrointestinal parasites.
Sleep Aid: Pumpkin seeds are a natural source of tryptophan, an amino acid that supports the production of serotonin and melatonin. The hormones serotonin and melatonin, which are influenced by the presence of tryptophan found in pumpkin seeds, play a vital role in regulating sleep patterns and facilitating restful nights.
Blood Sugar Regulation: The combination of protein, healthy fats, and fiber in pumpkin seeds helps slow down digestion and stabilize blood sugar. This can be beneficial for managing diabetes or preventing blood sugar spikes.
Immune Support: Pumpkin seeds are a valuable source of zinc, a mineral known to contribute to a healthy immune system. Adequate zinc intake is essential for proper immune function, wound healing, and overall cell health.
What Is The Best Way To Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
There are numerous ways to relish pumpkin seeds, depending on personal preferences and the desired flavor profile. Here are some popular methods for eating pumpkin seeds:
Roasting pumpkin seeds brings out their natural flavors and provides a delicious crunch. Whether you like salty pumpkin seeds, spiced or seasoned, roast them in the oven with a baking sheet until they turn golden brown and crispy. Alternatively, you can find pre-roasted pumpkin seeds at grocery stores.
Raw pumpkin seeds can be enjoyed in multiple ways, whether as a standalone snack or as a delightful addition to various recipes. Raw pumpkin seeds have a slightly softer texture compared to roasted ones and offer a more subtle taste. Pumpkin seeds offer versatility as they can be seamlessly incorporated into trail mixes, salads, or used as a delectable topping for yogurt and oatmeal.
Sprouting pumpkin seeds involves soaking them in water to initiate the germination process, enhancing their nutritional profile and making them easier to digest. Once sprouted, they can be enjoyed as a nutritious snack or used in various recipes.
Seasoned And Flavored
Pumpkin seeds can be coated with various flavors and seasonings to add extra taste. You can experiment with sweet options like cinnamon, honey, or cocoa powder, or go for savory flavors like garlic, chili powder, or Parmesan cheese. Infuse the pumpkin seeds with your preferred seasonings, allowing for a customized flavor experience that tantalizes your taste buds.
Ground Or Blended
Pumpkin seeds can be ground or blended into a fine powder to use as a nutritious ingredient in smoothies, baked goods, energy bars, or as a coating for meats or vegetables.