I don’t do single textures. The most delicious thing is usually a mouth-party of tastes and feels, and my faaaavourite way to pimp up a one-dimensional dish is to add some pumpkin seed crunch.
I’m also crushing on ‘em just simply swirled into a little homemade Greek yoghurt, pumpkin purée, and honey, like this:
The thing is, these humble little seeds, while perfect (and perfectly delish) in their simplicity, still require some TLC.
First, you need to soak them.
Why Should I Soak Nuts and Seeds?
Nuts and seeds contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. While these two things help prevent germination if the seeds are not in an optimum environment, they’re less helpful to our digestive system. Phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors bind with minerals and prevent proper nutrient absorption. This can lead to deficiencies, and for some unlucky folks, gastrointestinal irritation, too.
When you soak raw nuts and seeds, however, this activates the sprouting process, effectively breaking down much of the phytic acid, and allowing the minerals, vitamins, fats, and proteins to be more readily absorbed.
As it is, the modern diet is typically low in nutrient dense foods, and so absorption problems are common. So, soaking seeds and nuts in order to get to their good stuff is always a smart idea.
(Research is finding that in certain levels, phytic acid may have a protective effect in the body, but, in order to provide this beneficial effect, it must be balanced by certain fat soluble vitamins and other nutrients, and we must be able to absorb these, first.)
The second thing you should do with your pumpkin seeds is less about health and more about flavour: roasting.
Most ovens do not have a low enough setting to not destroy at least some of the pumpkin seeds’ nutrients. So, if you have a dehydrator, opt for that if you’re keen to preserve optimal nutrition. However—roasting at a slightly higher temp does improve flavour; so there’s a little compromise if you’re looking for a healthy, but tasty, snack.
I roast my seeds on my oven’s lowest setting (140C/ 275F), so I preserve some of the nutrition, whilst getting a yummy flavour.
If you’re looking for serious nutty crunch, and aren’t too fussed with losing the good fats, go with a slightly higher roasting temp, or roast for longer, and stop when the seeds become fragrant and golden brown, and begin to ‘pop’, like popcorn.
Here’s my supremely easy step-by-step tutorial on how to soak and roast your pumpkin seeds, perfectly:Print
A foolproof, step-by-step tutorial that will have you snacking on the healthiest, crunchiest pumpkin seeds in no time!
- 2 cups pumpkin seeds, or pepitas
- 2 tsp sea salt, plus more for seasoning
- Using a sieve, rinse pumpkin seeds under running water thoroughly.
- Place into a good-sized bowl, fill with water until seeds are covered and add salt. Swirl. Cover and leave to soak in the refrigerator overnight.
- In the morning, preheat your oven to its lowest setting.
- Drain and rinse pumpkin seeds. Spread out, in a single layer, on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Roast for 20 minutes, then turn over seeds with a spatula and roast for a further 20 minutes. Switch off oven and leave seeds inside until oven cools.
- Enjoy with abandon.