It's almost Halloween and lots of families are buying pumpkins for carving and decorating. It's fun to carve all types and colors of pumpkins from the small pie pumpkins to large field pumpkins.
But one piece of the Halloween pumpkin carving ritual that sometimes gets forgotten are the seeds. Pumpkins and winter squash seeds are not only delicious, they're nutritious. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with minerals -- especially magnesium -- anti-oxidants that help with prostate and bladder health, high blood pressure, and sleeping; and fiber. So when scooping out the flesh of your pumpkins, separate the seeds and place them in a bowl of water for cleaning.
Once you've cleaned the seeds of pulp, decide how you want to eat your pumpkin seeds. Purists will just heat the seeds on a cast iron skillet with a little oil and maybe with a little sugar to sweeten them.
But the most common way to eat pumpkins is oven roasted. For the crispiest seeds, boil seeds for 10 minutes in salted water before roasting. While most people add salt and oil to roast seeds, there are creative recipes, too.
When it comes to spicing up your pumpkin seeds or pepitas, don't go crazy with amounts, but experiment. The nutty flavor pairs well with butter, salt, and many spices. Go Mexican using different types of chili powders, lime, garlic, and salt to make a spicy pumpkin seed. Go Asian by spicing pepitas with garam masala, chilis, and turmeric. Make pumpkin seed pesto, granola, and cookies, too.
So, collect the seeds as you carve pumpkins and eat winter squash, to make a tasty and healthy snack.