Posted by: A Part of the Solution | October 9, 2010

How Organic are Your Pumpkin Seeds?

I worked a long time in natural foods. I worked different departments of the stores where I sold healthy alternatives to mainstream groceries. I worked to educate myself about health concerns and food-based means of preventative care and acute care. I am, perhaps, a woman who has worked too hard and knows too much.

Take pumpkin seeds. These little green gems are some of nature’s most nutrient packed, useful food sources. They fight prostate cancer, osteoporosis, anemia, cholesterol, and arthritic inflammation. Plus they have a ton of trace minerals and monounsaturated fat. You can’t beat those health giving properties with a stick!

However… and it’s not a small however, the organic pumpkin seeds one seeks out at natural foods bulk sections originate (for the most part) in China. That’s right, the People’s Republic of China. And that could be a big, big problem.

I have all empathy with the world’s most populous nation. I respect that everyone there is working hard to connect with the human race on the commercial level. I understand how economic pressures may cause excessive short-cutting in certain tricky aspects of doing business with the rest of the world. And I can’t help but wonder just how organic all those pumpkin seeds we’re importing are.

Are they as organic as the pet-food ingredients which caused sickness and mortality in many pets a few years back? Are they as organic as those soy products which would not test clean for restricted pesticide use? Because the irony of consuming a specific product for its outstanding health benefits and finding instead one has contributed to the general toxicity level in one’s body does not escape me.

In order for healthy fats to stay healthy, especially our friends at the monounsaturated end of the spectrum, they need to be cooked (where they are cooked at all) at a very low temperature so that the fats don’t oxidate and become harmful. The recipe which follows is a slower version of toasted pumpkin seeds than many you may read. But it also retains the sought-after health benefits of our friend the pepita.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

The interior seed matter of a pumpkin

Wash the seeds well. Use a vegetable brush to loosen the goopy connective matter. Spread the seeds on a brown paper bag and allow them to dry overnight.

Preheat the oven to 170°. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place them in the oven and stir them around about every seven minutes. They should be done in 30 minutes.

If you want them flavored, separate and beat an egg white (or blend 1 1/2 TBSP flax seed meal with 2 TBSP water until foamy and thick). Toss the seeds first in the egg white (or flax seed meal mixture) and apply your desired seasoning. Don’t use butter to hold the seasoning to the pumpkin seeds, it will burn before they’re done and give the whole pan full a bitter taste.

They go back into that same low, slow oven for about 20 minutes. They’ll be fragrant and browned in places when they’re all done.



  1. Yeah, the best is to grow your own pumpkins, then you can be sure that they are really organic 🙂

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