Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkinsCredit: Rachel HamCredit: Rachel Ham

Easy to Make

Roasting your own pumpkin seeds is easy and fun, if you like getting a bit messy.

  1. Cut a somewhat circular shape around the stem of your pumpkin. This is your lid. If you are carving your pumpkin into a Jack O' Lantern, keep the lid. If not, toss it.
  2. Scoop out the guts of the pumpkin. Throw out the stringy, slimy pumpkin goo, but keep the seeds.
  3. Put your pumpkin sees into a colander and rinse thorougly. Spread them out on a paper bag and let them dry for 30 minutes.
  4. Toss them in enough olive oil to coat, sea salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Sometimes, I add smoked paprika or cayenne (just a pinch) for a kick of extra flavor.
  5. Spread the seasoned seeds on a baking sheet.
  6. Roast them at 375°F for 15 minutes until they are nicely browned and start to pop. One caveat: if you roast them for 20 minutes or longer, you will the damage the unsaturated fats in the seeds.[5541]
  7. Let them cool and snack away.

Good for you

What's in them

Pumpkin seeds, especially fresh roasted ones, are chock full of essential minerals (copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and zinc) protein, several forms of vitamin E, and other antioxidants.[5541] 

The World Health Organization recommends eating pumpkin seeds as a good source of the essential mineral, zinc. Like most minerals, zinc is a component of many metabolic enzymes. The recommended intake is 15 mg/d for men and 12 mg/d for women.[5542] Pumpkin seeds in the shell with the thin membrane beneath the shell intact have substantially more zinc, since the membrane, called the endosperm, is where zinc concentrates. Unshelled seeds have about 10 mg of zinc in a 3.5 ounce serving.[5541] Eating fresh roasted pumpkin seeds is a good way to avoid zinc deficiency, which leads to impaired taste, loss of appetite, growth retardation, and immune problems.

Pumpkin seeds have an arsenal of anitoxidants: almost 3/4 of the daily recommended value of manganese, different forms of vitamins E and vitamin A, and phytosterols. [5543] Since both vitamins A and E are fat-soluble and pumpkin seeds contain lots of unsaturated fats, their antioxidant punch is even harder. Phytosterols can reduce blood cholesterol and the risk of some cancers. In fact, diets high in pumpkin seeds have been shown to reduce the risk of stomach, breast, lung, and colon cancer.[5543]

Finally, because of their high amount of protein (more than 250 g in a kg of seeds)[5543] and fiber (appriximately 150 g per kg), pumpkin seeds help keep you full. This is great news for those of us trying to shed a few pounds.


How to use pumpkin seeds

Bon Appetit!

  1. Eat them plain as a snack.
  2. Toss them in salads or soups, instead of croutons.
  3. Sprinkle some on your granola or oatmeal at breakfast.
  4. Add them to your trail mix.
  5. Make a sweet treat, pumpkin seed brittle.
  6. Add them to your favorite pumpkin bread recipe.
  7. Make a pumpkin seed pesto instead of using pine nuts or walnuts.