Save the Seeds

When you carve your pumpkins into Jack-o-lanterns this season, know that those seeds inside pack a wallop in nutrition. Be scared of missing out of a really good treat if you throw them away. I’ve included some great recipes, too!

Pumpkin seeds have the highest concentration of protein of all seeds, an estimated content of 30 to 40%. They are loaded with potassium, high in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, vitamin B1 (thiamine), calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and copper.

One ounce of shelled, unsalted pumpkin seeds contains 4.2 milligrams of iron, more than in three ounces of lean sirloin. Pumpkin seeds are best known for their high concentration of zinc and their use in the treatment and prevention of male prostate problems.

Not bad, and realize that although pumpkin seeds are high in fat, it is unsaturated fat and you would have to eat over a 100 seeds to ingest too much. Start looking at pumpkins a little differently now …

Instead of throwing the seeds away when you use a fresh pumpkin, try roasting them for a snack. Wash the seeds well, removing all the pumpkin flesh around them and dry. Spread them on a single layer on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. You can salt them if you like, but they are truly delicious on their own.

You can eat pumpkin seeds all the time. Given the nutritional information on them, who would not want to include them as part of a healthy diet. They are inexpensive and keep well for months in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To insure they will be fresh when you buy them, try to purchase them at a good quality nut store or health food store, and try to buy organic. Sprinkle them in cereal, in yogurt, on top of pancakes and waffles, in salads, and on top of fruit.

Dandelion Salad With Oranges and Pumpkin Seeds
Serves 4

1 bunch of washed and trimmed dandelion leaves
1 peeled, chopped, and seeded navel orange
Fresh chopped garlic, the amount depending on your taste
1 small red onion, chopped
1 large handful of shelled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Put in a large salad bowl, dandelion leaves, chopped orange, garlic, onion and pumpkin seeds. Dribble olive oil and balsamic vinegar over this, add salt and pepper to taste and toss.

Linguine With Olive Oil, Garlic and Pumpkin Seeds
Serves 4

1 box of Italian linguine
About 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
4-6 large cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large handful of shelled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of pasta water
Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese for grating

In a pan, saute the garlic in the olive oil until it just starts to turn brown. Add the pumpkin seeds and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. In the meantime, cook the linguine al dente, but just before you drain the water from it, take 1/2 cup out and pour it into the garlic and pumpkin seeds. Reduce on a high heat for about one minute. Toss with the pasta and serve with grated cheese.

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