The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, the leaves are changing and harvest festivals are being celebrated all around town. Plump orange pumpkins of every shape and size can be seen at every turn. I think it is safe to say, fall is in full swing.
Pumpkins have been a staple in American culture for many years, from holiday traditions like, my personal favorite, pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving to the ever popular jack o’ lantern on the front porch for Halloween. Pumpkins are even prominent in folk lore, fairy tales, and pop culture; remember Cinderella’s pumpkin stage coach, the pumpkin juice favored by the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Harry Potter or The Discovery Channel’s hit TV show Punkin’ Chunkin’, where people come from miles around with their fancy launching rigs just to see who’s gadget can catapult a pumpkin the farthest for the years’ bragging rights? Nevertheless, pumpkins are believed to have originated in Central America before being brought to North America but have been evident as far back as 9,000 years ago.
Consider for a moment one small element of the pumpkin that some may pass right by whether their pumpkin has been recruited for the carving block or destined to meet a buttery fluted crust and become refrigerator buddies with a stuffed turkey – the pumpkin seeds.
Research has shown that pumpkin seeds are a very good source of iron, protein, magnesium, zinc, copper, and potassium, as well as, vitamins K, B, and E. Studies have also shown the health benefits of pumpkin seeds range from promoting sleep and lowering depression and anxiety to lowering cholesterol and preventing the hardening of the arteries to men’s health and even a natural remedy for tapeworm in some cultures.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are great for a holiday gathering, an afternoon snack or even a midnight cabinet raiding escapade. The aroma of roasted seeds wafting from the oven is simply divine.
Gourmet Garlic and Parsley Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Gut your pumpkin, rinse the seeds removing as much of the membranes as possible, soak the seeds in a bowl of cool water for a few hours, then drain and let dry on a paper towel over night.
Coat the seeds in a bowl with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of butter, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt and parsley to taste, save the bowl. Spread seeds evenly on a wax paper lined pan and roast in a 300 degree oven no longer than 20 minutes, gently rearrange the seeds halfway through roasting. Place warm seeds back in the mixing bowl, stir to coat with remaining mixture and serve in a clean bowl.
Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Coat the seeds in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of butter, spread seeds evenly on a wax paper lined pan, sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar and roast in a 300 degree oven no longer than 20 minutes. Gently rearrange the seeds about halfway through roasting and serve.
If you’re feeling especially audacious, combine the two recipes after roasting for a savory sweet and salty combination.
Make roasting seeds your new family fall tradition, we did, and hope to continue the healthy custom for years to come.