Pumpkin seeds are also called “pepitas”. These are the edible seeds of a pumpkin. They are flat, oval-shaped, and have a white outer husk that is removed before consumption. So can you eat pumpkin seed shells? Absolutely yes!
Pumpkin seeds are rich in nutrients and can make a very healthy snack! Read on to gain in-depth knowledge about pumpkin seeds and understand why you need to add them to your diet!
Is It Safe to Eat Pumpkin Seed Shells?
The answer to this is YES! Pumpkin seed shells are packed with fiber, fats and vitamins. The texture is, however, the only factor that holds people back from eating them. Because it’s tough and chewy, which makes it nondesirable for many.
The shell is typically light beige or white in color and has a slightly rough texture. Pumpkin seed shells are sometimes removed before the seeds are eaten. As they can be tough and difficult to digest.
But if you’re looking for that extra fiber to include in your diet, feel free to include these with your meals!
The Nutritional Benefits
Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, pack a nutritious punch. That can offer several health benefits when consumed as part of a balanced diet.
Here are some potential benefits of consuming pepitas:
Pepitas are a great source of nutrients. It is a superfood that contains protein, healthy fats, fiber. And also various other vitamins and minerals. Such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamin E.
Some studies have suggested that pepitas may help improve heart health. By reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The healthy fats and fiber in pepitas may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. And increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Blood sugar control
Pepitas are a low-glycemic index food. This means they do not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. And hence, this makes them a good choice for people with diabetes. Or those trying to control their blood sugar levels.
Pepitas contain compounds called phytosterols and antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties. This may help reduce inflammation in the body and improve overall health.
Pepitas are a high-fiber food, which can help you feel fuller for longer and reduce appetite. This may help with weight management and weight loss.
It’s worth noting that while pepitas are a nutritious food, they are also high in calories. So it’s important to consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Kernels or Pepitas – What’s the Difference?
The terms “kernels” and “pepitas” are often used to refer to the edible part of the pumpkin seed. That is found inside the hard outer shell. However, technically speaking, there is a slight difference between the two.
“Kernels” generally refers to the whole pumpkin seed. That has been removed from the shell but still has its white outer skin intact. These kernels can be eaten as they are or roasted and seasoned for added flavor.
“Pepitas” specifically refers to pumpkin seed kernels that have had their outer skin removed. This makes them green in color and slightly softer, and easier to chew than whole kernels. Pepitas are often used in cooking and baking. As they can be easily ground into a powder or blended into a smooth paste.
In general, both pumpkin seed kernels and pepitas are nutritious. And can offer several health benefits when consumed as part of a balanced diet. They are both good sources of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. Such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamin E.
Pumpkin Seeds vs Pepitas – What’s the Difference?
“Pumpkin seeds” and “pepitas” both terms refer to the seeds of the pumpkin fruit. But technically, there is a difference between the two.
“Pumpkin seeds” refer to the whole seed. Including the outer shell or hull. Whereas “pepitas” refer to the kernel or seed without the outer shell. Pepitas are green in color and softer in texture than whole pumpkin seeds. Which are usually white or beige and have a slightly harder texture due to the outer shell.
In terms of nutrition, both pumpkin seeds and pepitas are highly nutritious. And offer many health benefits. They are both good sources of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. Such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamin E.
The choice between pumpkin seeds and pepitas largely comes down to personal preference. And how you plan to use them. If you want a crunchy snack, whole pumpkin seeds may be a better choice. While pepitas are often used for baking, cooking, or blending into smoothies or sauces.
It’s important to note whether you choose whole pumpkin seeds or pepitas. You should try to consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet, as they are relatively high in calories.
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Roasting pumpkin seeds is a simple and delicious way to enjoy the nutritious seeds of a pumpkin. Here’s a simple recipe:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Olive oil or melted butter
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Cut open your pumpkin and remove the seeds. Separate the seeds from the flesh and rinse them in a colander to remove any pulp or strings.
- Spread the seeds out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Drizzle the seeds with olive oil or melted butter, and sprinkle with salt to taste.
- Use your hands to mix the seeds around, making sure they are evenly coated in oil and salt.
- Bake the seeds in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy.
- Remove the seeds from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.
You can also experiment with different spices and seasonings. To give your pumpkin seeds a unique flavor. Some popular options include garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika.
As we established earlier, pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of fiber. As well as other vitamins and minerals. They are safe to consume(in moderation) and offer many health benefits.