Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Pumpkin Seeds

As a kid, I was always excited about Halloween! I loved to dress up and trick-or-treat with scary-looking friends, but truth be told, candy was not my thing. In fact, my favorite Halloween treat was the pumpkin seeds I could scoop out when carving the Jack-O-Lantern. My mother would roast them for a wonderful snack. For many years my only experience of pumpkin seeds was at Halloween, but moving to Texas changed that quickly. I soon learned they were called “pepitas” and were popular in many delicious dishes. It’s probably no surprise that pumpkins are native to North America. But did you know they were part of the native diet for thousands of years? They were especially popular in the Southwest. Every part of the pumpkin was used for food, including the seeds. Like me, the Native Americans could not resist the sweet, subtle flavor of the seeds, and they even used them for medicinal purposes. When it’s time to carve your Halloween pumpkin, save the seeds to savor! For added flavor, toast shelled seeds in a dry skillet for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring (almost) constantly. Watch carefully so they don’t burn! Or, roast the shelled seeds in your oven at 325°F for about 20 to 25 minutes. No time or desire to roast your own? Just pick up pumpkin seeds from our bulk department and you’re good to go. Although pumpkin seeds make a great, fun snack, they have a lot more versatility. Here are some fun and unique ways you can add pumpkin seeds to your menu: Be sure to store pumpkin seeds in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. They will keep for up to six months, and in the freezer for up to a year. Toasted or roasted seeds should always be kept cold as the oils are more susceptible to rancidity once cooked. If not refrigerated, keep them air-tight and use them within six to eight weeks of purchasing. Got a recipe or fun idea for pumpkin seeds? I’d love to know!