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Pumpkin – An Untapped Source of Magnesium

26 October 2012 - Posted by Ashley under

Pumpkins, especially their seeds, truly are an untapped source of magnesium – likely due to it being relegated to a decorative, seasonal item rather than a savory meal idea. I mean, truly… how often do you see anything related to pumpkins outside of jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pie, or some new charming, sparkly craft whereby you can turn a pumpkin into the perfect centerpiece? Not very often!

I think it’s time to start turning pumpkins into a more frequent addition to our meal and snack times. So here’s what we’re going to do…

First, we’ll carve up a pumpkin (because, hey, tis the season, right?) and separate out those seeds that we normally discard into the garbage – yes, this time we actually save them. Then, after we’re done showing the world what a talented Cucurbita carver we are, we take those saved seeds and wash them until all of the orange pumpkin gunk is cleaned off. At this point, you want them to somehow reach the “dry” phase, which can be achieved either by drying them slowly in a dehydrator and keeping them “raw”, or by popping them into the oven on a very low setting (but NOT roasting them).

Or, of course, you can take a different route and simply purchase the pumpkin seeds that you’ll need for the following awesome recipes:

Spicy Mayan Pumpkin Seed Dip (Sikil Pa’ak)

(slightly modified) from Apple Pie, Patis & Paté.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unhulled raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 4 medium tomatoes, about 3/4 pound (extra points for organic heirloom tomatoes!)
  • 1 habañero chile, or any fresh green chile such as serrano
  • 1 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1/3 to 2/3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp minced chives

Preparation

Heat a skillet or wide pan over medium heat. While mixing frequently, toast the unhulled pumpkin seeds until browned and crisp. The amount of time needed depends on the freshness of the pumpkin seeds and may take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Some of the pumpkin seeds will pop.

Once well-browned, add the hulled pumpkin seeds and toast for an additional minute. Set the toasted pumpkin seeds aside and let cool.

In the same skillet, char the chiles and tomatoes while turning frequently until blistered in spots.

Using a food processor or coffee / spice grinder, grind the toasted pumpkin seeds with the salt into a coarse powder and transfer to a serving bowl. Mince the charred chile and set aside.

Blend the charred tomatoes with about 1/3 cup of water. Stir into the pumpkin seed powder and add the cilantro and chives. The consistency should be smooth, resembling a coarser version of hummus.

Top with the minced chile. Taste and adjust the seasoning with kosher salt if needed.

Seasoned Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • Pumpkin seeds (1 large pumpkin worth)
  • coconut oil
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (yes, that’s fahrenheit). Coat the pumpkin seeds in melted coconut oil, then toss them with the listed spices. Spread seeds evenly onto a baking sheet and pop those future yummy snacks into the oven for around 20-30 minutes.

[Bonus Recipe!]

Pumpkin Butter

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp pumpkin (pureed)
  • 1/3 cup raw honey*
  • 3/4 cup unfiltered organic apple juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp all spice

*This recipe doesn’t work especially well with sugar substitutes, but you can swap the honey for brown or cane sugar if you prefer – simply bring the amount up to 1/2 – 1 cup.

Preparation

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium/high heat and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, bring the heat to low and simmer (uncovered or half covered) for about 45 minutes stirring frequently to keep the bottom from burning.

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Want to know more about the nutrition facts of pumpkins? Let us know!

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