Pepitas, or Pumpkin Seeds
An incredible morning at the Rock Fence Cabin at ABR…it makes it easy to get up at dawn. All of these awesome winterland and cabin photos are by Coleen Sullins who is joining us here in the land of snow while her home in North Carolina is currently under a massive pile of…you guessed it: snow.
Snow Snakes quietly sleeping. Most people don’t realize how prolific they are here in the north woods, and how they love to take down the unsuspecting skiers. Beware, my friends, beware.
And now for our favorite topic up here—FOOD. We’re eating quite few pepitas these days in the cabin, snacking on them alone, loading up the buckwheat porridge with them before heading out for a ski, or adding them to coleslaw for an evening post sauna meal.
photo by David Cavagnaro
Pepitas are a staple of my diet. Mostly I soak them in salt water then lightly roast them for anytime snacking, but they also rock in salads or ground up and cooked into sauces like móle. A great source of protein, zinc, iron, vitamin E, minerals, antioxidants and antimicrobial properties. Yay seeds!
Pepitas (and all squash) originated in South and Central America where the indigenous cultures (Mayans, Toltecs, Aztecs and many others) would use the seeds as food, medicine and ritual offerings. Proteins that stored and traveled well would have been (and still are) incredibly helpful.
The squash varieties most commonly grown for their hull-less seeds are Lady Godiva Pumpkin, Austria Oil Seed Pumpkin, Gleisdorfer Naked Seeded Pumpkin, Kakai Hullness Pumpkin, Styrian Pumpkin, Williams Naked Seeded Pumpkin These seed-oil pumpkins often do not have a very tasty flesh…I guess you can’t have everything.
Check out what Worlds Healthiest Foods has to say about pumpkin seeds.
Photo by David Cavagnaro
Why do I consider Pepitas a Helper?
They’re incredibly nutritious, full of protein and they go well with almost anything or eaten by themselves. When ground they help thicken sauces and soups or can fill out a pureed dip. Nearly every green salad we eat is sprinkled heavily with the little green wonders.
Tasty, versatile and good for you…what more could you want?
Try Pepitas with any of these:
- Hot cereal (buckwheat, rice, corn, oats…any of them)
- Rice or Millet Pilaf
- Pepita brittle
- Ground up in an enchilada sauce or móle
- Green salads
- Sautéed Vegetables
- Vegetable, Grain or Pasta Salads
- Ground up in dips
- Ground up with olives in a tapenade
- On crostini with feta cheese and craisins
- Watercress Pepita Pesto
- Kale Salad with Feta
- Muffins, scones or coffeecakes
- Cakes and breads
- Ground up in soups
- Ground up in casseroles or meatloaf
- Any kind of trail mix
- Homemade protein bars
- Homemade crackers
A few more recipes for the amazing and versatile Pepita:
photo by David Cavagnaro
I think toasted pepitas should get its own category of list. Try any of these spices roasted with the seeds:
- Honey and Sichuan Pepper
- Ground Chipotle Pepper
- Ginger, Honey and Sesame Oil
- Smokey Paprika
- Tamari and Chili Powder
- Maple Syrup, Cumin and Cayenne
Or try a toasted pepita recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table.
Back to our life these days and a few more of Coleen’s photos at the other end of the day.