This guide to pumpkin seeds will teach you how to roast, dehydrate, grind and store pumpkin seeds for healthy eating. Make and preserve them the way you like and save.
If you are interested in using pumpkin for healthy recipes, don’t forget about the seeds! While you can buy pumpkin seeds either salted or unsalted in grocery stores and health food stores, they are also easy to make at home.
This is ideal if you are already roasting your own pumpkin to use in recipes or to make your own pumpkin puree. When you cut open the pumpkin and remove the guts, save them so you can roast your own seeds. Here are some things to know about pumpkin seeds.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds, like the flesh of a pumpkin, have a lot of vitamins and minerals. They are delicious and wonderful to have in the fall but don’t forget they are also really good for you.
One ounce of pumpkin seeds (about 85 seeds) contains a lot of magnesium (37% of RDI), which is good for maintaining electrolytes, blood sugar levels, and for overall health. Some other nutrients include:
- Zinc, 14% of the RDI which helps with your immune system and boosts male reproductive health
- 1.7 grams to help with digestive health and weight loss
- Protein, 7 grams
- Fat, 5 grams including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and protect your cells. This, in turn, may improve overall heart health, since antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, and fatty acids aid in keeping your heart healthy.
How to Roast Raw Pumpkin Seeds
First, they need to be clean before roasting. To clean your pumpkin seeds, start by separating them from the guts of the pumpkin, placing them in a colander, and rinsing really well. Make sure they are completely rinsed and remove as much pumpkin guts as you can. It won’t hurt to have a bit sticking to them, but keep it to a minimum.
After rinsing, put the seeds on a clean towel and rub them so they can dry. If you are patient (and can wait that long), let them sit out overnight. This will remove access moisture that could increase the cooking time. Dry seeds help you to have evenly roasted seeds.
After the seeds are dry, put them in a large bowl and add a small amount of moisture. This will help the spices to stick. Consider adding a light spray of water, a dash of apple cider vinegar, a dribble of Worcestershire sauce, or drizzle them with olive oil or butter. Evenly coat the seeds with the moisture and then season them with salt or other spices.
Add the seeds to a lightly greased cookie sheet and spread them out for even roasting.
Roast at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn them after 10 minutes to encourage even browning. Try to avoid more than 20 minutes, or you might roast out the nutrients of the seeds. Remove them from the oven and store how you like.
Spices and Seasoning for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Salt – Sea salt, Kosher salt,
- Garlic powder or garlic salt
- Black pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
- Onion powder
- Cinnamon and sugar
- Brown sugar with chipotle chili powder and ground cumin
- Oregano and parmesan cheese
- Cajun seasoning
- Worcestershire sauce
How to Dehydrate Pumpkin Seeds
While roasted pumpkin seeds are full of nutrients, but they also contain phytic acid, which is naturally found in nuts, whole grains, and seeds. This acid can prevent the absorption of nutrients, but there are several ways to reduce the amount.
- Boil the pumpkin seeds for 10 minutes before roasting, and then continue with the dehydrating process. This removes most of the phytic acid that they contain, helping you to get even more nutrition out of them. Season the batch without oil, and transfer to dehydrator trays. Dry at 140°F for 4 to 6 hours until the seeds are dry.
- If you want to keep the seeds Raw, soak the pumpkin seeds in warm water and sea salt for 6 to 24 hours. After soaking, and to preserve the nutrients, spread the raw seeds out on dehydrator trays and dry at 140°F for 2 hours, then reduce the heat to 115°F for 4 to 6 hours until the seeds are dry.
See our dehydrating page for more foods to dehydrate for pantry storage.
How to Store Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
If you find that after a day of processing pumpkins for puree, there are more seeds than you can reasonably eat, use these storage tips for longer shelf life.
- Place roasted seeds in tightly sealed plastic or glass containers, in a cool, dry area.
- They will last at room temperature for 3 months.
- Extend the shelf life to 12 months by storing them in airtight containers the refrigerator.
- Properly packaged pumpkin seeds can be stored in the freezer or up to 12 months.
How to Grind Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds have 7 grams of protein in each ounce of dried seeds. You can turn that into protein powder by following these steps for drying and grinding raw, uncooked pumpkin seeds from LiveStrong. Use this powder in muffin, bread, cookies or morning smoothies.
7 Ways to Use Pumpkin Seeds
- The simplest way to add more pumpkin seeds to your diet is to eat them as a snack. Have a variety of roasted seed flavors and grab a handful to munch on them when you’re feeling hungry.
- Garnish salads with spicy, roasted seeds.
- Add seasoned or unseasoned pumpkin seeds to chili.
- Grind pumpkin seeds for a protein powder to add to baked recipes.
- Garnish homemade potato soup.
- Make pumpkin seed butter, yum!
- Add toasted seeds to homemade hummus.
Your turn, what is your favorite way to add healthy pumpkin seeds to your diet?