Carving a pumpkin means being confronted with a mass of stringy pulp and seeds, which can get easily overwhelming, especially when there are kids involved. But before you throw the entire contents of your pumpkin into the trash, you should know that the seeds can easily be used for a number of recipes.
Pumpkin seeds are a nutrient powerhouse, loaded with healthy fats, fiber, protein, along with nutrients like iron, manganese, zinc, and folate. They also happen to be one of the best natural sources for magnesium, with a one-ounce serving containing 37% of your recommended daily intake.
How to prep your pumpkin seeds
Before we get into some of the recipes, you should also know that prepping the seeds is not as laborious as you might fear. The hardest part is removing the pulp, which can be made much simpler by adding about ½-¾ cups of salt to your combined seeds. The salt turns the pulp into a gooey mess, which helps it slide right off. Once the seeds have been cleaned, you’ll want to wash them thoroughly and let them dry.
You might also notice that recipes for pumpkin seeds involved roasting, soaking, or sprouting them. This is because pumpkin seeds are high in phytic acid, which can reduce your body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients like calcium, zinc, and iron.
You won’t get pepitas from de-shelling your pumpkin seeds
You should also know that the pepitas you buy at the supermarket and the pumpkin seeds you get from carving a pumpkin are not the same. Most people believe pepitas are simply pumpkin seeds with the shell removed. However, if you try to remove the shells of your pumpkin seeds (which I don’t recommend, since it’s a giant pain in the ass), you won’t find those tasty little green nuggets inside, but a light green, crumbly seed.
Instead, pepitas, which are only found in certain types of pumpkins, develop without a shell. But they’re still pumpkin seeds with all of the nutritional benefits, and can be used in any of these recipes.