Tons of pepitas get thrown out while hundreds more are processed and delightfully savored. Biologically, we expect to find some kind of seeds in every vegetable and fruit. However, these are different, because they can be made into a favorite treat, one that is also very nutritious.
Pepitas, pronounced, “peh-pee’-tahs” are pumpkin seeds. Sometimes the word refers to the inside kernel of the pumpkin seed but can also be the entire un-hulled seed. roasted and salted.
Pepitas, have brought a positive meaning to snack foods. On their own, pepitas are temptingly salty, nutty crunchy, chewy and a bit sweet. Feel free to experiment with any herbs and spices until they seem “just right” to you. The seeds are flat and oval, light green in color. Some may have an outer shell which is white. A few species are hulless and raised only for their seeds.
Pepitas can be a hulled kernel or an unhulled whole seed that is raw or roasted. Pepitas are typically salted and sometimes spiced after roasting. Also, today they are available as a packaged product), in Mexico and other Latin American countries, in the American Southwest, and in speciality and Mexican food stores.
Stemming from its ancient Aztec history, pepitas have been popular with Mexicans for a very long time. They also make good use of the flesh of the pumpkin, their flowers are fried and sometimes stuffed. It is also an important ingredient in mole, certain soups and green sauces.
Pepitas are a very “good for you snack.” Besides being high in the B vitamins, they are rich in vitamins K, E, C and A.
Due to their high oil content, pepitas don’t store well for long periods of time. However, they will stay well-preserved for up to 6 months, if frozen in tightly-sealed plastic bags.
How to prepare pepitas:
- Rinse seeds well, then cover with water containing a pinch of sea salt. Leave to soak for a couple of hours. This step activates the seeds’ enzymes.
- Drain seeds well then cover it with a gauze-like piece of cloth and leave for 12 hours in a cool place.
- Next, rinse the seeds and spread in a single layer on a dry towel. Once dry, store in an air-tight jar.
Flavor pepitas in a moderate oven or medium, dry skillet with choices below:
- Flavored salt
- Chile powder
- Raw cacoa
- Salad dressings
- Trail mix
- Pasta dishes
- Chex mixes
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