Health: eat what’s inside that Jack-o-lantern

Updated Oct 28, 2014
pumpkins
Pumpkin seeds are a healthy snack

This is the time of year that pumpkins enjoy their moment of glory, primarily as carved up Halloween decorations on front porches everywhere.

However, the process of creating a jack-o-lantern can yield something important when it comes finding nutritious snacks that are good for the road and good for you.

Pumpkin seeds, it turns out, are a great source of some vitamins and minerals and are tops when it comes to disease-preventing antioxidants.

They are high in vitamin E and are loaded with minerals like manganese, zinc, phosphorous, copper, iron and magnesium.

And, when roasted with a little cooking oil and lightly salted, are pretty darn tasty.

Aside from eating them out of hand as a snack, you can:

  • Sprinkle them on mixed green salads.
  • Chop and add them to your favorite hot or cold cereal.
  • Grind them with fresh garlic, parsley and cilantro leaves, mix with olive oil and lemon juice to make salad dressing.
  • Put them in your oatmeal raisin cookie or granola recipe.
  • Add them to sautéed vegetables.
  • Grind them and add them to your next batch of burgers

A quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains about 180 calories, and when eaten in their shells provide a great source of fiber.

Here’s how to prepare them:

  • Preheat the over to 375
  • Once out of the pumpkin, rinse them in cold water and remove all of the weird, stringy pulp.
  • Pat them dry.
  • Add salt, pepper and a little olive oil for starters.
  • You can call on just about anything in your spice cabinet toad more flavors: paprika, chili powder, curry powder, or toss with fresh herbs like chopped rosemary or lightly baste them with a BBQ sauce or the hot sauce of your choice.
  • Stir form time to time.
  • Remove when they appear toasted and golden.

Let cool and devour or package in a zip top bag for your next road trip.