Pumpkins are everywhere right now, and I love it! My family gets excited about everything pumpkin–from pie, to bread, to ice cream, to lattes. And I’m glad that pumpkins don’t go away with Halloween–I keep mine out all the way until the Christmas tree goes up. (It helps that I have a lovely set of fake pumpkins on display every year. Thanks-Costco, 2004.)
When we carve our pumpkins, we love to roast the seeds with a little salt to snack on later. And for some reason this year I started to think about the yummy little pepitas that are so good served on some Mexican dishes…And I was trying to determine if pepitas are pumkin seeds, or some relative of them, or what exactly they are. (Have you ever wondered?) Well, maybe that was just me–but, if anyone else wasn’t clear on this–I went on a little search to figure it out, and here’s what I learned:
I am happy to finally know that indeed, pepitas are pumpkin seeds. Specifically, they are the flat, dark green seeds inside the yellow-white husk of a pumpkin seed. Typically, when you cook with pepitas, they have been hulled, so the husk has been removed.
(I am posting the simple steps for roasting pumpkin seeds at the bottom of this!)
If you’d like try getting the pepitas out of your own pumpkin seeds, it really isn’t too difficult. (Just a little time consuming.)
Here’s what you do:
After rinsing and straining your pumpkin seeds, you’ll want to boil them for about thirty minutes. Drain them and let them cool just a bit. Next you will need to individually squeeze each seed in your fingers to pop the little pepita out. Then you can follow the same directions for roasting the seeds as you do for the full pumpkin seed. (See bottom of the post.)
Personally, I think buying a bag of pepitas sounds a whole lot easier–and you can find them in some really great flavors as well.
Pepitas can be blended into sauces, tossed onto salads, mixed in soups and breads, and also used in granola (Mmmm–now I know what I’ll do to my favorite granola recipe.)
I also learned that pepitas are high in phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese.
With my mind on all things pumpkin, I began the search for some good recipes out there involving pumpkins, their seeds, or pepitas. I didn’t get too far before I happened across the Skinnytaste.com site. Let me just say that though there are plenty of great food sites out there (overwhelmingly plenty,) this is one to add to your list. When I saw that Gina was featuring Skinny Pumpkin Madness, I knew I found a new friend. This is the pumpkin bread photo that stopped me in my tracks–YUM:
She also started an entire Pinterest Board–so you’ll want to have a look here: Skinny Pumpkin Madness on Pinterest.
Since I’m on the fall health-food track today, I want to link you to another site, with a list of “30 best healthy fall treats.” These were found at Greatlist.com. I think you’ll find a few new favorites there!
I’m all over #1–Banana Maple Yogurt, #5. Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal, and #19–Carrot Cake Smoothie. MMMmmm!
Now, whether you’ll be munching on that Halloween candy for a while, or ready to detox after yesterday–I hope you’ll find a few healthy options to keep some balance. I know we need it in our home!!
Have a healthy, and happy Thursday!
Here’s the quick steps to roasting pumpkin seeds:
1. Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water picking out the pulp and strings. (Easiest done just after you’ve removed the seeds from the pumpkin, before the pulp has dried.)
2. Place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking oil or olive oil, stirring to coat.
3. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325 degrees F until toasted, about 25 minutes, checking and stirring after 10 minutes.
4. Let cool and store in an air-tight container.