How to roast pumpkin seeds – the delicious happy pills.

Red Hubbard Pumpkin – great for roasting and a good choice
if you like to leave the skin on.

Pumpkins. They might seem a bit girl next door, but they are our own little quiet achievers. And we all know what happened to Kate Middleton – but I digress. And anyway, I’m not really here to talk about pumpkin today and their plethora of antioxidants, blood sugar stabilising and immune boosting qualities, but rather their humble little seeds which are little treasure troves of their own.

These little jewels are commonly known as pepitas. They are flat, olive green coloured seeds, found in the heart of the pumpkin encased in their creamy-white husks. The ones that you most often see in the shops have usually had the husks removed.

So what’s so good about pumpkin seeds? Oh just the fabulous amount of protein, iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium and essential fatty acids that you get with each little crunch. 
Not enough for you, well how about a daily dose of tryptophan to keep you happy? Pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan which is an amino acid needed to form serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain which, among other things, regulates our mood and our sleep. And what better way to inject a little feel good into your life that to have it the form of a wholefood where all the wonderful cofactors needed for its proper functioning are right there! Delicious, nutritious, calming, happy seeds! Hooray!

In natural medicine we often think of them for prostate health also. Perhaps not number one on your agenda, but pumpkin seeds should be if you want to keep it in tip top condition.
Pepitas can also be fabulous for ridding intestinal worms, and for motion sickness and nausea.

And you were throwing them into the compost – no more!
Why not magic them into a magnificent little snack that is as much at home as a ‘3pm I’m hungry’ snack as they are on a glam platter for guests.
There are a number of ways of roasting pumpkin seeds. I prefer this simple method.

1. Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and flesh.
2. De-flesh them as much as you can be bothered – you don’t have to be too pedantic about this, as little pieces of flesh just add to the flavour.
By the way – this is a GREAT job for kids!! 

3. Give them a rinse and then spread them out onto baking paper and leave to dry out overnight.
4. Add your choice of flavouring – I used a good tablespoon of coconut oil, a teaspoon of tamari, 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika and a big sprinkle of black sesame seeds. You are only limited by your imagination here.
5. Roast at 75 degrees Celsius for 15-20mins, stirring a couple of times along the way.

It is not essential to dry them out overnight, but I prefer to as it allows you to bake the seeds at a much lower temperature for a shorter amount of time, which preserves the integrity of the oils within!
Some other flavouring suggestions:
Curry powder
Rosemary and garlic
Lime and chili
Sweet and spicy – maple syrup/honey/sugar and chili
Miso and sesame
The world is your oyster! or pepita!

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