As the temperatures cool and the leaves turn, the season becomes perfect on the first Wednesday in October to enjoy National Pumpkin Seed Day!
Many of us have fond memories of roasting these delicious nuggets after carving the Jack o’ lantern, but most of us never realized just how good (and good for us) they were. But surprisingly, pumpkin seeds have been valued for their dietary and medicinal properties for thousands of years. In fact, pumpkin seeds have been traced back as far as 7000 BC, according to archeologists excavating a tomb in central Mexico.
- The Aztecs and Mayans were believed to revere pumpkin seeds as an important and powerful source of food and nutrition.
- Pumpkin seeds without shells, also known as pepitas, provide an even better standalone snack especially those that are dry roasted and with flavor.
- Green Pumpkin Seeds Are the Naked Version of White Pumpkin Seeds
- This little seed also has a whopping 8.5 grams of complete plant-based protein in just 1 ounce. Ounce for ounce, that’s 2.5 times more protein than a hard-boiled egg.
- The word “pumpkin” showed up for the first time in the fairy tale Cinderella.
- The original jack-o’-lanterns were made with turnips and potatoes by the Irish.
- Over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin are produced each year in the United States. The top pumpkin-producing states are Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.
- Morton, Illinois, calls itself the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.” According to the University of Illinois, 95% of the pumpkins grown in the U.S. are harvested in Illinois soil. Morton is allegedly responsible for 80% of the world’s canned pumpkin production.
- Each pumpkin has about 500 seeds. They take between 90 and 120 days to grow, which is why it’s recommended to plant them between May and July. High in iron, they can be roasted to eat. The flowers that grow on pumpkin vines are also edible.
- Pumpkins are technically fruit.
- Native Americans used to use pumpkin seeds for food and medicine. Strips of pumpkins were also dried and made into mats.
- People used to believe that pumpkins had the ability to remove freckles and cure snake bites.
- Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed extracts, and pumpkin seed oil have long been valued for their anti-microbial benefits, including their anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Research points to the role of unique proteins in pumpkin seeds as the source of many antimicrobial benefits.
- Pumpkin spice (or pumpkin pie spice) is typically made from a combination of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, or allspice. That’s right, actual pumpkin isn’t part of the blend—we just associate the mix with the taste and smell of pumpkin thanks to clever food marketers.
- Pumpkin Seed Oil Is a Thing. But you shouldn’t cook with it. With a dark green, almost reddish color and nutty flavor, pumpkin seed oil has a low smoke point and will turn bitter if heated.