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Healthy Pumpkin Seeds

by Traci Corley
Pumpkin seeds are a healthy and delicious food. Itís best to toast your own, rather than buy the bleached and over-salted or shelled kind. The nutty taste of the kind you roast and salt yourself is something not to be missed. They are great for snacking, or can be added to top soups or liven up salads.

Pumpkin seeds can be harvested from a large or small pumpkin. Cut into the top of the pumpkin and separate the pumpkin seeds from the stringy inside of the pumpkin. The pumpkin meat (the part inside the shell of the pumpkin that isnít stringy) can be used to make soup, mixed with risotto or pasta after sautťing with garlic, onions and butter, or simply baked and topped with a little brown sugar and dotted with butter. Delicious and healthy!

Rinse the slippery pumpkin seeds in a colander once they are taken out of the pumpkin. Then, spread them on a cookie sheet in a single layer. They should not be on top of each other to insure even roasting. Spray the seeds lightly with olive oil spray, and salt lightly. Put the seeds into a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees. Roast until they are lightly browned. You may want to give the cookie sheet a little shake after about 10 minutes to turn the seeds over. Shake the cookie sheet from side to side to make the pumpkin seeds sit in an even layer again. The seeds are ready when they are lightly crunchy and easy to chew. They should be a golden brown color. Roasted pumpkin seeds do not need shelling; they can be eaten as they are.

After roasting, the seeds can be cooled and put into an airtight plastic container and they will stay fresh and lightly crunchy for about 3-4 weeks. Munch the seeds instead of popcorn for a healthy movie-watching treat. Or pack them in school lunches. Roasted pumpkin seeds are also a delicious topping for soups such as tomato, squash or cream soups.

Pumpkin seeds are the seeds of a pumpkin, which is in the squash family. Therefore, you can also roast squash seeds from any of a wide variety of squashes, such as acorn, peanut, and spaghetti squashes with the same results.

Pumpkin seeds and squash seeds provide fiber and omega oils which are very beneficial to the body. Donít throw away those seeds the next time you carve a pumpkin or make squash!