Healthy Pumpkin Snacks for Fall

Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, don’t only have a sweet name, they also taste great. Plus, they come with lots of health benefits. Pumpkin seeds can be divided into a crunchy white skin or a green seed and both parts are edible.

Pumpkin seeds are real champions among seeds and nuts:

* They are the top iron, zinc, Vitamin B2 and B6 providers

* They are the second best source of magnesium

Pumpkins are a popular seasonal treat, especially around Halloween when many people carve them for festive decorations. The valuable seeds often end up in the trash bin,meaning all minerals, vitamins, protein and fiber are lost. This is why we want to show you how to make the most out of your pumpkin seeds this fall!

shot of pumpkins, apples, walnuts and honey on a table.

Bring out the best in your pumpkin

  • Step 1: Grab a big spoon or ice cream scoop and remove the seeds from your pumpkin.
  • Step 2: Do it like the Aztecs and throw the seeds in a bowl of cold, salted water. The salt water deactivates enzymes that could irritate your stomach.
  • Step 3: With a strainer, collect all of the seeds floating on the surface.

Let the seeds dry

  • Step 4: Evenly distribute the seeds on a baking tray. Make one single layer and leave enough space between the seeds for them to get really dry.
  • Step 5: Bake them in the oven at 300°F (150°C) for about 30 minutes until dry. Pssst… Don’t use paper towels for drying–this will make the seeds stick to the paper!

pumpkin seeds in a bowl.

Season your pumpkin seeds

  • Crunchy:
    Toss the pumpkin seeds in a little olive oil, salt and fresh herbs.
  • Spicy:
    Coat the seeds with hot sauce, chili or garlic.
  • Italian:
    Sprinkle grated parmesan and dried oregano over the seeds.
  • Sweet:
    Mix your seeds with cinnamon and sugar.

Roast your pumpkin seeds
After seasoning the dried pumpkin seeds, there are several ways to roast them:

  • In the oven:
    Preheat to 300°F (150°C) and bake the seeds for about 20 minutes. Shake the baking tray after 10 minutes to avoid burning your seeds.
  • In the microwave:
    Put the seeds in a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir once and heat for another minute. Repeat until they are crispy.
  • In a pan:
    Roast the seeds in a pan with a bit of olive oil or butter. Toss every now and then to prevent the seeds from sticking to your pan. After about 5 minutes, they will turn golden brown and fill the air with a nice nutty smell.

pumpkin salad with pumpkin seeds.

Eat immediately or store for later
You can enjoy your homemade power seeds as a healthy pumpkin snack or sprinkle them over soups, salads or in granola. Eat them immediately or store them in a container and finish within a week. When kept in the freezer, they will last for about a month.

Get ready for next year
If you want to harvest your own pumpkin next year, follow steps 1 – 4 and then dry them without additional heat. Put them on a baking tray and let them sit in a cool, dry place for about a month. Check on your seeds every day and flip them over every now and then so they dry evenly. Then, fill them in a paper bag or envelope and deep-freeze or store in an air-tight container until sowing time.

pumpkin soup with pumpkin seeds.

The best period for planting your seeds is between the last week of May and mid-June. Pumpkins need 90 to 120 days to grow and can be harvested in October, as soon as they turn a deep orange.
P.S. Birds also love dried pumpkin seeds. Kids have lots of fun carving pumpkins, drying the seeds and, of course, feeding hungry birds!

How do you like to use pumpkins at home? Share your ideas in the comments!

Bye for now,
Vera

Originally published on October 20, 2014, updated on October 17, 2016.

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Vera Schwaiger Vera studied dietetics & psychotherapy. She lives her life according to what Einstein once said: "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." View all posts by Vera Schwaiger »

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