When you carve that Halloween jack-o-lantern, don't throw away the pumpkin seeds. Toasted, they make nutritional snacks as well as great sprinkles for other dishes.
Place the seeds in a strainer and rinse away excess pumpkin flesh, then soak them in salt water for at least 8 hours to begin the germination process and break down the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. This will make them more easily digestible and more nutritious. After soaking, allow them to dry thoroughly.
When you are ready to toast the pumpkin seeds, lightly toss them in a couple tablespoons of olive oil before you season. Seasoning can be garlic salt, onion powder, paprika and cayenne or fajita seasoning, crab seasoning, or chili powder. Tossing with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg makes a sweeter holiday treat. Just use your imagination here.
Then place the seasoned pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet and bake at 160 to 170 degrees for about 15 minutes, no more than 20 minutes. Too long roasting times bring about unwanted changes in the fats of the seeds.
A rich source of protein, fiber, and many minerals, toasted pumpkin seeds are also high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) like oleic acid (18:1) which help lower bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol
Sprinkle your roasted pumpkin seeds, also called pepita, on stir-fried vegetables, salads, casseroles, cereals and granola or use them as a healthful snack. Sealed in a refrigerated container, they will remain fresh for one to two months.