We have been hitting the same pumpkin patch for years. Even before kids, Bob and I would make our way down the coast each October to Bob’s Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay. Just the drive down Route 1 alone is worth the trip – miles and miles of that rugged California coast (still gets me after 18 years). But, in the end, it is all about finding the perfect pumpkin.
Complicating things a bit, we don’t have an opinion in the family on what makes the perfect pumpkin. Brin is a bit of a traditionalist, opting for the perfectly round, perfectly orange pumpkin straight off a Hallmark card. Ana just goes BIG. I prefer the long & lean. And Bob has always had a Charlie Brown Christmas thing going – choosing the quirkiest pumpkin he can find.
With so many pumpkins making their way home with us, we end up with no shortage of seeds. In recent years, we have started toasting them – turning them into an easy-to-make snack that the girls will happily devour by the handful. A quick rinse, an hour in the oven, tossed with our seasoning of choice (are we feeling salty or sweet?) and our pumpkin seeds are good to go.
A few good ways to enjoy pumpkin seeds:
- on top of oatmeal with a bit of fresh fruit
- mixed into a green salad
- sprinkled over sautéed or braised greens
- added to a favorite granola recipe
- on top of a creamy soup with a dollop of plain yogurt
- all on their own, seasoned just the way you like them
The Power of Pumpkin Seeds
Although we tend to associate pumpkin seeds with the fall season, they are a year round treat. Found in most any bulk food section, pumpkin seeds make a deliciously nutritious addition to your natural foods pantry. They are full of health-enhancing minerals and antioxidants. High zinc levels support bone health while the phytochemicals have been proven to reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
Seeds from 1 large pumpkin
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon coriander
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- After you have removed the seeds from your pumpkin, give them a good rinse to get rid of most of the pulp. Spread them out on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake the seeds until dried, about 1 hour.
- Warm the olive oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Add the baked seeds, cumin, garlic salt and coriander. After giving them a good toss, stir only occasionally. The goal is to have the seeds toast a bit. Remove from the heat after 3-5 minutes and set aside to cool.
Serves 4 – 6.
A Few Nutritious Tips for Healthy Snacking