Best Pumpkin Seed Recipes
Pumpkin seeds are one of the most nutritious, and delicious, snacks you can give your kids. Since the seeds are not nut products and are not foods that usually trigger allergies, they are safe to bring to school. In fact, pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, have great health benefits: from helping with digestion to preventing urinary tract infection to improving brain function and learning disabilities. So next time you carve a pumpkin for Halloween, or make a pumpkin pie, do not throw out those seeds. (If you eat them with shells on - use small to medium pumpkins). Try some of these best pumpkin seed recipes for snacks that pack a powerful punch.
First you need to prepare the seeds. Have a large bowl full of water to put the seeds in as you take them out of the pumpkins. The pulp will sink to the bottom of the water and your seeds will be clean. Remove the seeds and lay them out on paper towels or clean kitchen towels to dry (usually overnight).
You will want to roast the seeds at a low temperature to preserve the essential oils. You can pre-cook the seeds by boiling them in salted water before you roast. Seeds can be roasted at 160-170 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes. You can add 1 egg white or 2 teaspoons of oil, like olive oil or canola oil, to your 3 cups of seeds, or just spray your baking sheet. Pick out your favorite combination of the following seasonings:
Add a touch of sweet: Add in a bit of maple syrup (eliminate oil or egg white), brown sugar, honey, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon sugar or raw sugar
Spicy: Add your favorite of the following: Cayenne pepper, black pepper, hot sauce, ancho chili powder, crushed red chilli peppers, hot chilli powder
Savoury: Italian seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, cheese flavour (you can use popcorn seasonings), sea salt, soy sauce, cumin, herb blends
Blends: Shake on some of the seasoning blends from your cupboard, like Cajun, Bar-b-q, Mexican, Tex-Mex, curry or Greek.
Combinations: Why not go sweet and spicy? Add a little raw sugar with some salt and crushed red pepper flakes or soy sauce, honey, garlic powder and sea salt. A good asian savory combination is Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, sea salt and seasoning salt. The possibilities are endless. You will need several teaspoons of spice mix for every 3 cups of seeds, but add more or less according to your taste.
Roasted seeds can be added to salads, soups, cereals and veggie dishes. They can also be crushed and added to meat mixtures (like hamburger), oatmeal, muffin mixes and rice pudding. If there are any leftover seeds, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.
You can buy pumpkin seeds online all year round. With so many fabulous taste combinations and health benefits, why not eat them all four seasons?
Megan McInnis, aka schoolmom, is an educator and parent that writes about parenting topics and raising healthy and happy kids. For more information visit http://www.blogschoolmom.blogspot.com.
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