In my family, autumn is our favorite season and Halloween is one of our most loved holidays. We look forward to the cooling weather and shortening days. One of our most favorite fall activities is heading out to the pumpkin patch to select the perfect carving pumpkins. Each person in our family, cats and dogs included, receives their very own pumpkin. Not only do our hand-carved pumpkins provide beautiful fall decoration for the season, but each pumpkin renders hundreds of pumpkin seeds that we will roast and enjoy with a cup of warm spiced apple cider. This was the tradition in my family while growing up and I have lovingly carried that tradition forward into my own family today.
Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are packed with nutrition! Pumpkin seeds or pepitas are wonderful sources of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. They provide minerals zinc, iron and copper. Additionally, pumpkin seeds are good sources of protein and vitamin k. Some recipes call for shelled pumpkin seeds. However, the hull of the pumpkin seed contains healthy amounts of fiber, so it would be a shame to waste part of the nutritious seed. Associated Content writer Scott Kessman wrote a wonderful article called The Nutrition of Pumpkins, which delves even further into the nutritional value of the entire pumpkin and is well worth reading.
To make the traditional Shera family roasted pumpkin seed recipe you only need to follow a few easy steps. When carving your pumpkins, be sure to have a large bowl nearby to put your pepitas in after scraping out your pumpkin. The pumpkin seeds will be coated with orange pumpkin when you remove them. Do not wash the seeds! Part of the flavor comes from the pumpkin which clings to the pumpkin seeds. While preparing your pumpkins for carving, preheat your oven to 250 degrees. After gathering every last delicious seed from your pumpkins, spread the gooey seeds thinly in a baking pan with at least a quarter inch lip. I traditionally use the bottom of a large broiler pan. Melt one stick of butter for every 3 or 4 pumpkins carved. Pour butter over the seeds and salt to taste. Mix well to ensure all seeds are coated. Pop the pan in the oven and roast slowly at 250 degrees for several hours. While roasting your pumpkin seeds, periodically stir them well. Soon, your entire home will be filled with the wonderful smell of buttery, roasted pumpkin seeds! When the seeds are brown and toasty, remove from the oven and allow them to cool thoroughly. Store cooked pumpkin seeds in an airtight container.
One word of warning about the Shera family pumpkin seed recipe: with all the bountiful nutrition contained in pepitas, the addition of butter and salt do serve to make this recipe much less healthful than plain, old shelled pepitas roasted dry in an oven. However, made only one time per year during our favorite season of autumn, this extra special treat will always be a part of our family’s Halloween tradition! Enjoy!
The World’s Healthiest Foods.org
Pumpkin facts at Green Nature.com