Edible seeds haven't been this popular since our hunt-and-gather days. Here's everything you need to know before you dig in We've all heard of using apples as bongs but have you ever tried a pumpkin? Click here to read our pumpkin bong tutorial and a great THC pumpkin seed recipe. Soaking pumpkin seeds before roasting makes them exponentially more nutritious, easy to digest, flavorful, and crunchy! Learn how; it's easy!
The Truth About 6 “Superfood” Seeds
W hen it comes to nutrition-dense superfoods, seeds are having a bit of a moment. But do they deserve their health halo? “There is an obsession with healthy fats, protein and fiber—it’s like the trinity—and seeds have all three,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian in Chicago, Illinois. Of course, shortly behind every health food trend are enterprising food companies quick to sell you packaged foods that contain them—making it tough to tell what’s truly good for you and what isn’t.
Here’s a quick primer on six seeds that will help you separate the hype from truth:
What’s good: Chia’s evolution from punch line to power food has finally earned the tiny seeds some respect. Packed with 10g of fiber and nearly 5g of protein per ounce (just under 3 tablespoons), the seeds — which come from a plant in the mint family — can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, making for a fun addition to everything from puddings (think tapioca without all the sugar) to pancakes. Chefs at the Cleveland Clinic even add the seeds to meatballs for extra bulk and flavor, says Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian at the Ohio hospital. Sold both in big bags and small, single-serve packets for mixing into smoothies, the seeds are also a good source of calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids and phosphorous.
What’s not: Assertions that this ancient seed can lower blood pressure and make you lose weight have not been proven. Chia doesn’t come cheap either: At $12.99 a pound at my local market, it costs more than twice as much as most other seeds.
What’s good: Hemp is a variety of cannabis plant, but the only high these seeds will give you is a nutritional one. They’ve got more protein (about 10g per ounce) than any other seed we can think of, making them a great alternative to animal protein. “For adding protein to a smoothie, I am going to go for hemp seeds,” says Blatner. And because protein takes longer to digest than carbs, they may help you feel full longer. Bonus: Each ounce contains three-quarters of the daily recommended Vitamin E and nearly a third of the recommended zinc to help boost your immune system.
What’s not: Search on “cannabis cures cancer” and you’ll find a large and ardent contingent who believe that cannabis, particularly in its oil form, is a magic elixir. Not only is this claim not proven by scientific studies, but the cannabis oil promoted is not the same as the oil made from hemp seeds, which is commonly found in health stores.
What’s good: An ounce of these slightly nutty seeds contains nearly 8g of fiber along, 12g of fatty acids, and more than a quarter of your daily recommended magnesium, which helps boost energy. The fiber helps with digestion, and there’s also some evidence that flax seeds can lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. Available in either brown or golden varieties, both are equally nutritious.
What’s not: Unlike other seeds, just sprinkling a handful of these bad boys on your yogurt won’t yield their full benefits. As Blatner notes: “Flax seed is best in its ground form so we can get the nutrients out of its shell.” Due to flax seeds’ high oil content, you should refrigerate ground seeds (as well as flaxseed oil).
What’s good: For a tasty snack you can enjoy a la carte, roasted pumpkin seeds – also known as pepitas – are the hands-down winner. But where pumpkin seeds really shine is in the kitchen: found in everything from pesto to pipian verde, they’re one of the most versatile seeds you can buy. The green seeds are high in fat (14g per ounce) and relatively low in fiber (2g), but make up for it with nearly 10g of protein and a slew of minerals, including half or more of the daily recommended doses of copper, magnesium, manganese and phosphorous. They’re also a close second to hemp when it comes to zinc. Pumpkin seed oil has also been shown to relieve symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate – a common condition for men over 50.
What’s not: Pepitas are so delicious that it’s tempting to eating too many. Kirkpatrick, RD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute recommends no more than a handful a day, which contains about 160 calories. If you’re worried about your salt intake, consider buying a mix of salted and unsalted pepitas, then mix them together – and enjoy!
What’s good: “They’re kind of overlooked because people don’t know what to do with them,” says Kirkpatrick, “but they’re high in zinc, which helps immune health.” Per ounce, the seeds, which are also known as benne seeds, have 5g of protein, 4g of fiber and contain more than a third of the recommended copper (which we need for energy and collagen production) and manganese (which supports bone health). They’re also a good source of calcium, magnesium and iron.
What’s not: Although seed allergies are fairly rare overall, sesame seed allergies in particular are on the rise, with an estimated 0.2% of the population (about half of those who are allergic to cow’s milk) affected in areas where the seeds are available. Chances are you and your kids will be fine, but use caution when introducing the seeds to those who have never tried them.
What’s good: Native to Southwest Asia, nigella seeds are popular in Indian cuisine but have also been used for centuries as a traditional treatment for a broad range of ills, including pink eye, the flu, colic and congestion. Commonly referred to as black seed, kalonji or black cumin, the seed is also sold in an oil form at stores like Whole Foods. An ounce contains 11g of fiber, 5g of protein and 4g of fat, and is a good source of calcium, magnesium and iron.
What’s not: Nigella has been touted as “a remedy for everything but death”—including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. But as dietitian Amy Jamieson-Petonic points out, “Some limited research has been done, but more needs to be completed before concrete recommendations can be made.” What’s more, the oil form does not contain the dietary fiber or protein found in the whole seeds, so if you want the full benefits you need to eat the whole seed.
Pumpkin Bong Tutorial + THC-Infused Pumpkin Seed Recipe
You’ve probably heard of using an apple as a pipe, but how about using a pumpkin as a bong? Pumpkin season is upon us, and we highly recommend giving this smoking apparatus a try. Not only is it an adorable creation to wow your friends with, but it makes for a uniquely tasty smoking experience as well!
Many people associate the flavor of pumpkins with pumpkin spice flavoring–cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.–but if you want to taste the true flavor of pumpkin, try using one as a bong. Shoutout to Nic Bailon at our Salem location for reminding me about this awesome fall festive cannabis craft!
You’ll need a pumpkin, a downstem, and a bowl piece to create your pumpkin bong.
To begin, choose your pumpkin. It should be big enough to accommodate some water and the downstem once it’s all emptied out. Beginners may want to look for a pumpkin on the smaller side so it doesn’t require quite as much lung capacity to inhale the smoke.
Next, carefully carve a lid into your pumpkin around the stem. Remove the lid and set it aside.
Then, the fun part: Don’t be afraid to get your hands messy! And don’t throw away those guts and seeds just yet; you might want them (more on that later)…
Fill the pumpkin with some water and replace the lid.
Next, choose a spot to place the downstem and carve a small hole to fit it. This part can be tricky, because the downstem should fit as snugly as possible–so take your time with it!
Drill or cut out another small hole for air intake (where your mouth will go). Optional: Insert a Moose Labs MouthPeace into the air intake hole for added comfort and a more bong-like experience.
Pack your bowl with the cannabis of your choosing, and light it up!
So what about those pumpkin guts & seeds from earlier? There are uses for both, but first, you’ll have to separate the guts from the seeds. The guts can be pureed in a food processor and used in recipes in place of pumpkin puree. The seeds make a great snack roasted in the oven, but we can do one better: Coat the pumpkin seeds in cannabis-infused coconut oil before roasting them to make a healthy, fall festive edible option!
Remember that pumpkins are biodegradable, so we don’t recommend using your pumpkin bong for any longer than a day or two. Once you’re done smoking out of it, just remove the downstem and it’s all prepped to make a jack-o’-lantern!
Crunchy Soaked & Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
Are you carving pumpkins, or perhaps cooking up a meal with fresh whole pumpkin? Don’t let the seeds go to waste! Instead, try our soaked and roasted pumpkin seeds recipe. Sure, you could skip the soaking and go straight to the roasting, and that is admittedly the quicker option. However, I think you’ll be intrigued to read more about the benefits of soaking pumpkin seeds before roasting them. It’s the only way we ever do it! Don’t worry, they’ll still be plenty crunchy. More crunchy than ever in fact.
Did you know? You can use this roasted pumpkin seeds recipe with any type of hard winter squash seeds. Butternut squash, acorn squash, hubbard squash, spaghetti squash – you name it! Like pumpkin seeds, all winter squash seeds are edible and highly nutritious.
Are roasted pumpkin seeds good for you?
Heck yes, and even more so once they’re soaked! Pumpkin seeds are notoriously rich in minerals, including magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, and zinc. They also contain notable amounts of protein, vitamins K and B2, folate, potassium, healthy (polyunsaturated) fats, and antioxidants. Compared to shelled pumpkin seeds you’re likely to buy in stores, homemade roasted pumpkin seeds with the outer shell still intact contain even more fiber. Fall season aside, we buy these organic sprouted pumpkin seeds to add on top of salads chili, soup, sautéed veggies, and other meals – all year long!
Why soak pumpkin seeds before roasting?
Fresh roasted pumpkin seeds can be a bit tough – both in texture, and on your belly. But soaking pumpkin seeds in a mild salt water brine before roasting them provides several benefits that help!
Increased nutritional value
Soaking pumpkin seeds reduces phytic acid content. Considered an ‘anti-nutrient’, phytic acid is a natural substance commonly found in grains, legumes, nuts and seeds – including pumpkin seeds. Phytic acid binds with minerals and thereby inhibits our bodies from absorbing those minerals, along with vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients in food. Phytic acid can also exacerbate unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms for some people, such as bloating and gas.
Yet when you soak pumpkin seeds in water, it activates the sprouting process and neutralizes much of the phytic acids along with other enzyme inhibitors. This means soaked and roasted pumpkin seeds are more nourishing – because all those stellar nutrients in them are now more bioavailable! They are also easier to digest. This follows the same reasoning as why sourdough is healthier than other bread, or why sprouted grains and seeds are popular ‘health foods’.
Better flavor and texture
While it may seem counterintuitive, soaking pumpkin seeds before roasting them actually results in crunchier finished pumpkin seeds! The soaking process helps soften the otherwise chewy exterior shell of the seed, enabling it to crisp up better in the oven. Combined with the reduced phytic acid content, this makes soaked and roasted pumpkin seeds more gentle on your stomach and more enjoyable to eat! Finally, soaking pumpkin seeds in salt water means that some of the salt is absorbed and helps to flavor the seeds more deeply.
Again, soaking pumpkin seeds before roasting is totally optional, but I find it worth the effort. And even though it’s technically an ‘extra’ step, I find it adds additional flexibility to your cooking schedule. Rather than rushing to roast the pumpkin seeds immediately after cleaning them out from the pumpkin, they can simply hang out in a bath until you’re ready for them. Or, you could even drain them after their extended soak, pop them in the fridge, and roast them a few days later.
HOW TO SOAK AND ROAST PUMPKIN SEEDS
Ingredients & Supplies Needed
- Fresh pumpkin seeds. You can use jack-o-lantern pumpkins, decorative pumpkins, baking pumpkins, or other hard winter squash seeds. For this particular batch of soaked and roasted pumpkin seeds, we used the seeds from several sugar pie pumpkins. The pumpkins were roasted too – to make a big batch of our favorite three-bean pumpkin chili (vegan) plus a few jars of homemade pumpkin puree to save and use in recipes later.
- Sea salt
- Water (enough to soak the seeds in a bowl)
- Seasonings of choice
- Mixing bowl and strainer
- A baking sheet
- Gather your fresh pumpkin seeds. Separate the seeds from the pumpkin flesh as much as possible. Rinse the seeds well in a colander. Then, transfer the pumpkin seeds to a clean bowl to soak in.
- Quick tip: Rather than scooping everything out of the pumpkin (guts and seeds included) I find it is easiest to pinch and pull the pumpkin seeds away from the pumpkin flesh by hand while it is still firmly attached inside. Then I scrape the seed-free ‘guts’ out after.
Look how clean the seeds are already, before rinsing! That’s because I pulled them away from the pumpkin flesh instead of scooping it all out together.
Soak the Pumpkin Seeds
- Next, create a mild salt water brine to pour over the seeds. Combine about 1/2 Tbsp of salt for every 2 cups of water used. The salt provides flavor, but also reduces the ability for any harmful bacteria to develop in the water, similar to a fermentation brine.
- Leave the bowl out on the counter and allow the pumpkin seeds to soak for 6 hours minimum, up to 24 hours. If we gut our pumpkins in the morning, we let the pumpkin seeds soak all day and then proceed to the next step before bed (letting them air dry overnight). Or, when we’re cooking or carving pumpkins in the evening, we soak the seeds overnight and drain them in the morning. (You could also drain them and then store them in the fridge for a couple days before roasting if that works best for your schedule.)
- Before roasting, it is best to let the soaked pumpkin seeds dry out a bit before they go in the oven. They’ll be the most crunchy this way!
- First, drain the seeds in a stainer and shake away excess water.
- Next, we dry our soaked pumpkin seeds by spreading them out on a clean, lint-free tea towel. Doing this on a baking sheet makes it easy to move them around as needed. If possible, let the seeds air dry for several hours, tossing them on occasion. We’ve also expedited the process by patting them dry and proceeding to the next step sooner.
- Now is the time to get creative and season your soaked pumpkin seeds however you see fit! Keep it simple with a sprinkle of sea salt, or go all out and add a tasty mix of several seasonings. In this particular batch, we used coconut oil, salt, and a sprinkle of paprika.
- Place the soaked pumpkin seeds (now fairly dry) in a bowl to toss with seasonings and evenly coat them.
- At minimum, I recommend using melted coconut oil, butter, or olive oil plus a sprinkle of sea salt. We don’t usually measure, but about 1 tablespoon of melted oil or butter per two cups of pumpkin seeds is a good ballpark.
- Sprinkle salt over as you would when seasoning vegetables or popcorn, but keep in mind they’re already mildly salty from the salt water soak. You can always add more later!
Ideas for roasted pumpkin seed seasonings
Create savory roasted pumpkin seeds with the addition of paprika, garlic salt or garlic powder, onion powder, chipotle seasoning, curry powder, ‘everything but the bagel seasoning’, powdered ranch seasoning, nutritional yeast, or parmesan cheese.
You could also go the sweet route and make candied pumpkin seeds by using cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and even a little ginger powder, brown sugar or maple syrup. Check out our Sweet & Salty Rosemary Roasted Mixed Nuts recipe as a similar idea!
Roast the Pumpkin Seeds & Enjoy!
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Spread the pumpkin seeds out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Optional: line the baking sheet with a silicone mat or tin foil for easy clean-up.
- Bake the soaked pumpkin seeds for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, until lightly golden and crunchy. Stir and toss the seeds several times throughout the process to promote even roasting, about every 15 minutes.
- Keep in mind that soaked and roasted pumpkin seeds will be more chewy straight out of the oven, but will crisp up as they cool!
- Once your roasted pumpkin seeds have fully cooled, transfer them to an airtight container with a lid for storage like this glass flip-top jar.
Can you eat whole pumpkin seeds?
Yes, you can absolutely eat whole pumpkin seeds. No need to remove the shell; just pop them in your mouth as-is! In the grocery store, you mostly see green-colored shelled pumpkin seeds. However, the outer shell of the pumpkin seed is 100% edible, and contains a lot of beneficial minerals and fiber too! And as we’ve already explored, soaking pumpkin seeds in salt water before roasting helps to make the normally tough, chewy outer shell more crunchy and much easier to digest.
That’s all there is to it!
All in all, you can’t go wrong with soaked and roasted pumpkin seeds. They’re delicious, extra nutritious, and incredibly easy to make. Not to mention, making homemade roasted pumpkin seeds is the perfect zero-waste solution to fall festivities or recipes that involve whole pumpkins. I hope you love this crunchy snack as much as we do!
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