Happy (healthy) Halloween!
With Halloween celebrations looking like they will actually happen all over the country tonight, I’ll delight in seeing all the kiddos dressed up.
Sometimes whacky. Sometimes scary. Sometimes… a head-scratcher.
But it’s usually great fun. And on nearly every porch, you’ll see a pumpkin.
They’re everywhere this time of year. And while I love to carve one up like the rest of you, I sometimes wonder…
How many of these pumpkins are just going to be wasted? I mean, besides a pie every so often, who among us really eats pumpkin?
Well, we should start, at least while they’re around. Because Charlie Brown was right.
Pumpkins are great – for your health!
Just look at all that’s packed in there…
First, pumpkins are orange because they’re chock full of beta-carotene. And a diet rich in beta-carotene is associated with a lower risk of cancer, especially breast cancer.
Next, they’re full of lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamin A. All three are great for your eyes, and lutein and zeaxanthin are great for aging muscles too.
Pumpkins are also a nice boost to your immune system, and researchers are looking at pumpkin extracts as a way to treat diabetes.
But my favorite thing about pumpkins is the seeds. Even when I would carve one up and not eat it, I would always roast the seeds and eat those.
They’re packed with zinc, which is great for your prostate, guys. And they’re anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants.
Not to mention, they taste great.
I don’t have too many pumpkin recipes. If you have one, let me know.
But here’s how I make my seeds:
- First, you’re going to want to get the seeds out of the pumpkin and drop the seeds and pulp into a bowl of cold water. (That makes it easier to sort them.)
- Once you separate them from the pulp, put them in a colander and rinse.
- Then, set them to dry. I just put some paper towels on my cutting board and go about my business for a while.
- Once they’re dry, preheat your oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Now, you can make your seeds either savory or sweet. They’re both delicious.
- For savory, mix the seeds with a few tablespoons of olive oil, some sea salt and whatever spices you like. Garlic, paprika, hot pepper – really anything works.
- If you want something a little sweeter, use cinnamon, vanilla, allspice… that type of thing. You could use butter here instead of oil. I find it works better with the sweet variety, but either is fine. I don’t add sugar, but you can use a little if you prefer. (Just don’t overdo it.)
- I bake for 30-40 minutes, but I’d recommend checking them after 20 just to see. I made these at someone else’s house once and… well, let’s just say their smoke detectors worked fine.
- Once they’re looking nice and golden, transfer them to a bowl to cool.
And enjoy! Happy Halloween everyone.