Mackenzie Lane and Alyson Gaylord, Coordinated Program Dietetics students in the Department of Allied Health Sciences in the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources volunteered with Foodshare at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. The experience is part of the dietetic education program. Watch to learn more about the food distribution center and how these students spent their day.
Written by UConn Dietetics Student Hannah Waxler
The Fall season brings to us a favorite squash!! Pumpkin! Did you know it’s a squash? Pumpkin and the spices that seem to flavor it best are added to just about everything: pumpkin coffee, pumpkin muffins, and of course, pumpkin pie! As delicious as pumpkin treats are, did you know that the seeds of a pumpkin can also be roasted and enjoyed?
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of many nutrients, including fiber, protein, magnesium, and potassium1. Pumpkin seeds can be seasoned in many ways and are delightfully crunchy when roasted, which makes them a great addition to salads, trail mixes and for a simple snack-in-a-handful!
Check out this simple way to make your own roasted pumpkin seeds:
- Get a pumpkin!
- Fill a large bowl with warm water
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees
- Wash your hands!
- Carefully, use a sharp knife to cut around the top of the pumpkin around the stem, and then pull on the stem to take off.
- Using a large spoon or your hands, pull all of the seeds out of the pumpkin and place the clumps of seeds directly into the bowl of water. This will get messy, but it’s fun! The stringy orange pulp in the pumpkin can be discarded when pulled out with the seeds.
- Use your hands to separate any remaining pumpkin pulp from the seeds in the bowl of water. The pulp will sink, and the seeds will float once in the water.
- Strain seeds out of the water with a colander, and pat the seeds dry with a paper towel.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place cleaned and dried pumpkin seeds in a bowl. Now it is time to season them! This is the fun part!
- For a sweet, pumpkin pie flavor, use equal parts cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
- For a savory flavor option, use equal parts salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin.
- Use your own spice mixture as well!
- Once seasonings sprinkled on, use your hands to mix seeds well.
- Lay seasoned pumpkin seeds out in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake the seasoned pumpkin seeds for 30-35 minutes at 275 degrees. Every 15 minutes, carefully open the oven and using a spoon or pancake flipper, stir the seeds around so they are able to roast evenly.
- Once the seeds are lightly browned, remove from the oven and allow to cool on pan.
- Store the roasted pumpkin seeds in a sealed container at room temperature.
There are many ways you can enjoy your toasted pumpkin seeds! A few ideas:
- Sprinkle on top of a green salad
- Add them into a trail mix or granola
- Sprinkle on top of yogurt
- Enjoy these crunchy treats on their own
- USDA https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/784459/nutrients. Accessed October 10, 2020.
This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
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