Enjoy the nutty flavour of roasted pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are flat, dark green seeds. Some are encased in a yellow-white husk, although some varieties produce seeds without shells. Pumpkin seeds have a malleable, chewy texture and a subtly sweet, nutty flavour. While roasted pumpkin seeds are probably best known for their role as a perennial Halloween treat, these seeds are so delicious and nutritious, that they can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Like cantaloupe, cucumber and squash, pumpkins and pumpkin seeds belong to the gourd or Cucurbitaceae family. The most common genus and species name for pumpkin is Cucurbita maxima.

Pumpkins, and their seeds, were a celebrated food of the Native American Indians who treasured them both for their dietary and medicinal properties. The cultivation of pumpkins spread throughout the world when the European explorers, returning from their journeys, brought back many of the agricultural treasures of the New World.

Whether purchasing pumpkin seeds in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture or insect damage and that they are not shrivelled. If it is possible to smell the pumpkin seeds, do so in order to ensure that they are not rancid or musty.

Pumpkin seeds should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. While they may stay edible for several months, they seem to lose their peak freshness after about one to two months.

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. They're also a good source of protein and vitamin K.

Now, for a recipe.

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Ingredients

Raw whole pumpkin seeds: 500 gm

Butter, melted: 20 gm

Salt: a pinch

Method:

Preheat oven to 300 degree F. Toss the seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Stir occasionally.