This time of year pumpkins have been standard doorstep decor, coffee shop latte flavors, and the base for many pastries and desserts. We're excited to feature one of the lesser appreciated parts in this spicy pumpkin seeds recipe. Often we toss the seeds, whether we're carving a pumpkin for decor, or trying to extract the flesh for a dessert. This cleanse-approved recipe is so simple, the seeds will never go to waste again!
Use the Whole Pumpkin
Pumpkins come in many shapes and sizes and the taste of the flesh is just as varied. If you choose a large carving pumpkin, the seeds will be large and tasty, however, the flesh can be less flavorful and watery. If you choose a proper eating variation (like Baby Pam, Autumn Gold, or simply "pie pumpkins") we suggest scooping out the flesh and either pureeing (smoothies or pumpkin cookies, anyone?) or cutting it into cubes and freezing.
Relax and Eat the Seeds
Just a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains half of the recommended amount of magnesium we should consume daily. Magnesium is often referred to as the relaxing mineral - and for good reason. Magnesium can help regulate cortisol, which is a stress hormone that can contribute to insomnia and when chronically high can cause adrenal fatigue. Even modern medicine has caught on to the benefits of magnesium - intravenous magnesium is often administered for heart palpitations and panic attacks.
Zinc for Immune Function
This spicy pumpkin seeds recipe not only contains Tryptophan, but they are also rich in zinc which is a cofactor to converting tryptophan to serotonin. Zinc is known for reducing our risk of getting sick, and shortening illness time when we do. It's also shown to help balance hormones, as it increases testosterone naturally, and is essential for producing estrogen and progesterone.
1 large pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Remove the cap of pumpkin by carving a circle around the stem (you can carefully use a regular chef's knife, or pumpkin carving tools if you have them on hand).
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Once the cap of the pumpkin is removed, use your hands to gently remove seeds from the flesh of pumpkin and place them in a bowl. The more gentle you are during this step, the less flesh you will remove with your seeds.
Pour the seeds into a strainer. Remove any visible pieces of flesh by hand, then rinse the seeds until clean.
Strain any excess water, then spread your pumpkin seeds evenly on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes to dry them out. While pumpkin seeds dry in the oven, mix spices. In a small bowl add salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne. Mix gently with a fork until combined evenly.
Remove pan from the oven. Lightly coat the seeds with olive oil and spice mix. Spread the seeds evenly over the pan and return to oven for 20 more minutes.
You can serve these spicy pumpkin seeds immediately or store in an airtight container for snacking on the cleanse, topping salads, or serving as an appetizer during holiday parties.
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble.