The seeds of a pumpkin are packed with even more nutrition than the flesh!
Full of zinc, phosphorus, Vitamins A, C, E, & K, as well as protein and many healthful amino acids, they also happen to be crunchy and delicious.
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
Simply scoop the seeds from the center of the squash, and wash them only if needed; you want any stringiness from the pumpkin gone, but the slippery coating on the seeds before washing helps the spices to stick. Some pumpkins are 'stringier' than others; if you need to wash your seeds, simply rinse them under cool running water, then add a dash of olive oil to the seeds and toss them.
Spread the seeds out across a baking sheet, and sprinkle them with salt and spices to taste. On this day, we used just salt and chipotle powder, for a smoky, salty kick. But experiment!
Curry powder, paprika, cumin, black pepper--all add their own unique flavor twist. Or think sweetness, and add a small amount of sugar or honey to the seeds, along with cinnamon and perhaps even a dash of red pepper!
After sprinkling the seeds with salt and spice, toss them gently and spread them out again, so both sides of the seed are evenly covered.
Then into the oven they go, perhaps even beneath the pumpkin bread of the very squash they came from! They'll cook faster than the bread, though. Cook them until they are roasted and crunchy, about 15 minutes.
Pepitas can also be made in a dehydrator, by similar methods. In fact, a dehydrator preserves even more of the nutrition from the seeds, although the flavor is more fresh and less toasty.
For a super nutrition boost, soak the seeds before roasting them. This will activate the nutrition in the seed, as the sprouting process begins chemical changes inside the seed make it more nutritious, as well as more digestible. (Learn more about sprouting here.)
Soak the pepitas overnight in water containing just a pinch of salt, and then season as above.
Spread them on a dehydrator sheet and process at 146 degrees Fahrenheit, according to dehydrator instructions.
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