Also known as pepitas, these flat, dark green seeds have a chewy texture and a subtly sweet, nutty flavour.
Our seeds have been de-hulled, although some varieties of pumpkins do produce seeds without shells.
Pumpkins belong to the gourd or Cucurbitaceae family.
The most common species of pumpkin used as a source of pumpkin seeds are Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita moschata, and Cucurbita mixta.
Pumpkins, like many of our most well-known vegetables and grains, are native to the Americas. The word “pepita” comes from Mexico, where the Spanish phrase “pepita de calabaza” means “little seed of squash”.
Many indigenous Americans celebrated and treasured pumpkin seeds for their dietary and medicinal properties. The seeds have been traced back to the Aztec cultures of 1300-1500 AD, and it is likely the plants were popular before this time.
Pumpkin spread to the rest of the world via trade and exploration over many centuries. In parts of Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean -particularly in Greece – the seeds are a standard part of everyday cuisine. They are also incorporated into the culinary and medical traditions of India and other parts of Asia.
All seeds tend to be ‘mini-powerhouses’ of healthy nutrients, and pumpkin seeds are no exception.
They’re high in iron and zinc, which makes them an immune system protector. They also provide vitamin E, thiamin and folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids (crucial for cardiovascular health). Phenolic antioxidants and phytonutrients supply anti-microbial and anti-viral benefits, and help to prevent oxidative stress.
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