Pumpkin seeds, also known as Pepitas, are the edible seed of the pumpkin plant. Pepitas are a popular ingredient served in Mexican cuisine, and are also popular when roasted and served as a snack. Roasted then salted, pumpkin seeds are a seasonal favorite in the United States when they are served as a snack. In the Americas, the seeds of the pumpkin plant have been consumed since Aztec times, where they were sun roasted and served throughout the winter months. As an ingredient mole dishes, the importance and popularity of pumpkin seeds is certainly pronounced in South American and Mexican cuisines.
Pumpkin seeds contain a high degree of dietary fiber, protein and vitamin E. They contain a high amount of mono-unsaturated fats, a healthy type of triglyceride. Finally, they contain a great source of plant sterols and flavonoids, heart healthy nutrients which contain anti-oxidants.
Manganese – Manganese aids in the metabolism of food as well as promotes normal functioning of the nervous system. Manganese works as an antioxidant to help prevent cancer and heart disease.
Magnesium – Magnesium helps to keep muscle and nerve tissues functioning normal, as well as promotes a proper heartbeat. It also assists in the support of a healthy immune system and keeps bones strong.
Flavonoids – Flavonoids are a class of antioxidants which help to promote healthy cell growth and reduce inflammation. They are also a powerful class of molecules when it comes to reducing the risk of certain cancers.
Vitamin E – Research has shown that vitamin E possesses anti-inflammatory effects that can combat arthritis, rheumatism, asthma, and other inflammatory disorders linked to chronic inflammation. Vitamin E also improves the body’s metabolic function.
Dietary Fiber – Dietary Fiber stimulates digestion and peristalsis, helping to relieve indigestion and constipation problems.
Pumpkin Seeds, while harvested during the late summer months and early fall, can be found dried year round in supermarkets and food retail shops.
Per 1 Ounce (28 grams):
Calories (cKal): 158
Total Fat (grams): 13.91
Carbohydrates (grams): 3.04
Fiber (grams): 1.7
Buying and Storing
Since pumpkin seeds are dried, there are no real issues to consider when purchased from a reputable supplier or supermarket. Being a dried nut, they will store for up to one month in your kitchen. Alternatively, make your own pumpkin seeds and store in a sealed container for up to two weeks.
Best Way to Add to Diet
Pumpkin seeds make a great afternoon snack or addition to any breakfast yogurt, trail mix or parfait. Try adding some of these nuts to your salad for an extra bit of taste and texture. Finally, serve them on top of ice cream or sorbet to create an out of this world taste.