Halloween is fast approaching, and soon the air will be filled with the squeals of laughter, costumes and candy, and the most recognizable “star” of the holiday, the pumpkin.
Picking out the perfect pumpkin has become a tradition that many families look forward to each year. It has to be just right, not too big, not too small, and the shape, well that has to be perfect too; one that would make Charlie Brown’s friend, Linus, call out for the “Great Pumpkin."
Your next step is to head on out to your nearest pumpkin patch, and with over 100 cider mills in Macomb and Oakland counties, you’re sure to find one near you.
Now you’re ready to show off your carving skills and create your masterpiece. But did you know that your work of art, is also good for your heart? This year while carving and scooping your “Great Pumpkin,” make plans to keep the seeds. Pumpkin seeds pack a “nutrient punch” with heart healthy benefits.
They’re an “antioxidant powerhouse,” rich in fiber and in mono-and polyunsaturated fats that can help lower your cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. According to the University of Michigan’s October 11, 2013 article, in CVC Heartbeat, pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, “which can benefit blood pressure, and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke."
So this year, instead of tossing out the sticky, goopy mess from your masterpiece, save the seeds. You can rinse, dry and eat them raw, or if you prefer, you can roast them using the tasty recipe below courtesy of University of Michigan Health Systems.
Happy heart healthy Halloween!
Healthy roasted pumpkin seeds recipe
1. Toss 2 cups of pumpkin seeds with oil (3-4 tablespoons) until coated. Instead of melted butter or margarine, use oils high in “better” fats such as monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.
2. Place seeds in one layer on a baking sheet or cooking pan coated with low-fat, low-calorie cooking spray.
3. Sprinkle seasonings (between 1½ and 4 teaspoons, to taste) on pumpkin seeds. Use different seasoning(s) rather than salt: For sweet seeds use cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice; for spicy seeds use garlic, onion powder, pepper, dry mustard, paprika, ground cumin, cayenne pepper or other favorite spices.
4. Roast seeds on the top rack of the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Or, microwave pumpkin seeds for 2-3 minutes, stirring after each minute.
5. Allow roasted seeds to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
6. Store leftover roasted pumpkin seeds in an airtight container.