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Don’t let the pumpkin seeds from your Halloween Jack O Lantern go to waste. They’re a tasty snack that I like to make in a food dehydrator.
Pumpkin seeds contain many essential minerals like zinc and magnesium. Also, they are a great source of fiber and rich in protein and healthy omega-3 fats. Read more about their nutrition here. Many of the nutrients hold up well to dehydrating. Here’s a quick and easy guide on how to make them.
Drying pumpkin seeds in a food dehydrator dehydrator
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What you will need
- Fresh pumpkin seeds
- Large bowl filled with warm water
- Olive oil or vegetable oil
- Salt (if desired)
Step by step guide
- Separate the pulp from the seeds.
- Rinse the seeds in a strainer to remove remaining pulp.
- Prepare a bowl of warm water with enough water to cover the seeds and add a tsp or two of salt to the water (if desired).
- Soak for approximately 12 hours at room temperature.
- After soaking, drain off the water and remove any excess from the seeds.
- In a bowl, combine seeds and mix with enough oil to lightly coat the seeds. Toss with salt to taste.
- Arrange seeds on dehydrator racks, leaving some space for air circulation. Seeds should be a single layer on the rack.
- Dry at 130 °F, for 6 to 8 hours until thoroughly dry.
- For best results, stir the seeds around on the trays halfway through the drying process to help evenly dry them.
- When finished, remove the dried pumpkin seeds from the dehydrator and let them cool completely before storage.
Pumpkin Pulp with Seeds
Scoop the pulp out of the pumpkin and separate out the seeds. Rinse the seeds then soak in salted water.
Photo by Shaun Holloway on Unsplash
Nutritional Content of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds like many other nuts and seeds are an excellent source of nutrition. They are a good source of protein, fiber, and many minerals.
- Excellent source of important minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and iron
- High in fiber to support digestive health
- Good source of heart-healthy Omega-3 essential fatty acids
- High in protein – a great snack when you are working out or on the go
- Contain antioxidants such as Vitamin E
Read more about the potential health benefits of pumpkin seeds.
What About Pepitas Pumpkin Seeds?
Pepitas pumpkin seeds are seeds in the pumpkin family that do not have the outer shell or hull. They come from select pumpkin varieties. The nutritional profile is similar to regular pumpkin seeds, but they are a little easier to eat since they don’t contain the tougher outer hull. Preparation in the dehydrator is similar, although the drying time will be less.
Storing Dehydrated Pumpkin Seeds
Dehydrated pumpkin seeds can typically be stored for 3-12 months depending on how they are packaged. I like to store them in ziplock bags in the pantry for easy access. For a longer shelf life, store in an airtight container.
More info about how long dehydrated food lasts.
How to use Dried Pumpkin Seeds
There are a couple of ways I like to use dried pumpkin seeds. They make a great between meal snack in plain form with just a little salt for seasoning. Combine with some nuts and raisins for a homemade trail mix.
They also make a great topping soup or a salad. Add your dried pumpkin seeds to a fresh garden salad for some extra texture and crunch, or to top a hearty fall squash soup.
They can also be used in baking. Top your pumpkin muffins with the dried seeds, or add them to your favorite bread recipe.
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