Home Nuts/Seeds Pumpkin Seed

Pumpkin Seed

 

(Nuts/Seed Sprout)

One of the more valuable seeds for the purpose of sprouting. They contain high-quality proteins as well as fats, vitamin E, phosphorus, iron and zinc. They are best short sprouted for 24 hours. Use to make salad dressing, sprout loaves, cheeses and desserts.

Pumpkin seeds? How about some pumpkin seed? Pumpkin seeds are shine skin, snow white, lady nail and may be consumed raw, sprouted, roasted and salted, toasted, baked, with shell (in-shell) or without shell (shelled / hull-less pumpkin seed kernels, pepitas or pumpkin seed meats). Anyway you prefer pumpkin seeds, just a handful of roasted and salted ones may be a delicious snack food, well-suited to a healthy diet and nutrition like the Mediterranean diet.

Did you ever wonder what the roots of the words pumpkin seeds are? Some even call them squash seeds or pepitas, when shelled. It may probably be not well known, but the word pumpkin is claimed to have originated from the Greek word "pepon", which means melon. The French nasalized the initial Greek word into "pompon", the British to "pumpion" and the American colonists finalized it to "pumpkin" (ref.: L. Owczarzak, 1986). Now, here is a good reason for one looking for pumpkin seeds to search first of all in Greece! Oddly enough, the Greek -apart from their native word "spória"- also use the word of Latin origin "passatempo", which means "passing time" (eating pumpkin seeds...).

Besides their undoubted nutrition value roasted and salted pumpkin seeds are also a great snack food and very popular in many countries such as Greece, Turkey, the rest Balkan countries, Spain, Italy, Mexico, etc. Western Europeans and Americans have relatively recently discovered the appeal of pumpkin seeds as a snack food, which are day-by-day getting more and more popular. Pumpkin seed kernels are also used in bakery products (e.g. bread, pies, etc.), cereals, salads and even in sweets.

The most popular edible varieties of pumpkin seeds are the following:

  • shine skin (creamy-yellow)
  • lady nail (creamy-yellow)
  • snow white (white color)
  • pepitas, shelled or hull-less kernels (light or dark green color)

Pumpkin seeds come from the cucurbita family (cucurbita pepo) and are a natural, healthy and exceptionally nutritious food. The oil they contain, ranging 40-50%, is rich in unsaturated fatty acids. Their protein content ranges from 30 to 40%, whereas they present the highest concentration among all other seeds. They are also rich in vitamins E, C and A.

It has been observed that pumpkin seeds produce a soothing effect on prostate problems and also facilitate the normal function of the bladder.

Pumpkin seeds may be regarded as a health food of no or minimal processing (e.g. roasting), well-suited for a properly balanced diet. Dried fruits, nuts and seeds are placed at the middle of the food guide pyramid.

Pumpkin seeds contain sizeable amounts of protein (35%) and approximately 50% fatty oil, whose fatty acid profile is dominated by unsaturated fatty acids, namely linoleic and oleic acid. There are many trace constituents like tocopherols (0.1%) and phytosterols (total 0.1 to 0.5%); of the latter group, many are specific for the family of even the species.

The dark green colour of pumpkin seed oil is caused by carotenoids (15 ppm, mostly lutein) and even more by porphyrines (13 ppm, mostly chlorophyll b and pheophytin a). Pumpkin seed oil stains have terminated the career of many garments, particularly shirts and ties; they stains, however, pale quickly in direct sunlight. See also annatto about vegetable colourings.

The flavour of pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil developes in a toasting procedure, which is applied to the seeds immediately before extraction of the oil. In this process, a multitude of volatile, flavourful compounds forms via the Maillard reaction. There is little scientific research in that field, but it seems that the most important flavour contributions come from pyrazines, e.g., 2,6-dimethylpyrazine.

Pumpkin, Cucurbita pepo, is native to Central America, especially México, where it is cultivated since millennia.
After the Spaniards had discovered America, pumpkin was imported into Europe and Asia, where it was welcomed as a cheap and nutritional vegetable.

 

 

Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried

Nutrient Units Value per
100 grams of
edible portion
Sample
Count
Std.
Error
Proximates
Water g 6.92 17 0.391
Energy kcal 541 0
Energy kj 2264 0
Protein g 24.54 17 0.767
Total lipid (fat) g 45.85 17 0.877
Ash g 4.88 15 0.127
Carbohydrate, by difference g 17.81 0
Fiber, total dietary g 3.9 0
Minerals
Calcium, Ca mg 43 13 1.184
Iron, Fe mg 14.97 11 1.018
Magnesium, Mg mg 535 1
Phosphorus, P mg 1174 12 34.726
Potassium, K mg 807 1
Sodium, Na mg 18 1
Zinc, Zn mg 7.46 0
Copper, Cu mg 1.387 0
Manganese, Mn mg 3.021 0
Selenium, Se mcg 5.6 0
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 1.9 0
Thiamin mg 0.210 2
Riboflavin mg 0.320 2
Niacin mg 1.745 2
Pantothenic acid mg 0.339 0
Vitamin B-6 mg 0.224 0
Folate, total mcg 58 0
Folic acid mcg 0 0
Folate, food mcg 58 0
Folate, DFE mcg_DFE 58 0
Vitamin B-12 mcg 0.00 0
Vitamin A, IU IU 380 0
Retinol mcg 0 0
Vitamin A, RAE mcg_RAE 19 0
Vitamin E mg_ATE 1.000 0
Lipids
Fatty acids, total saturated g 8.674 0
4:0 g 0.000 0
6:0 g 0.000 0
8:0 g 0.000 0
10:0 g 0.000 0
12:0 g 0.044 1
14:0 g 0.052 5
16:0 g 5.612 12
18:0 g 2.811 12
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated g 14.258 0
16:1 undifferentiated g 0.099 4
18:1 undifferentiated g 14.146 12
20:1 g 0.000 0
22:1 undifferentiated g 0.000 0
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated g 20.904 0
18:2 undifferentiated g 20.702 12
18:3 undifferentiated g 0.181 6
18:4 g 0.000 0
20:4 undifferentiated g 0.000 0
20:5 n-3 g 0.000 0
22:5 n-3 g 0.000 0
22:6 n-3 g 0.000 0
Cholesterol mg 0 0
Amino acids
Tryptophan g 0.431 0
Threonine g 0.903 0
Isoleucine g 1.264 0
Leucine g 2.079 0
Lysine g 1.833 0
Methionine g 0.551 0
Cystine g 0.301 0
Phenylalanine g 1.222 0
Tyrosine g 1.019 0
Valine g 1.972 0
Arginine g 4.033 0
Histidine g 0.681 0
Alanine g 1.158 0
Aspartic acid g 2.477 0
Glutamic acid g 4.315 0
Glycine g 1.796 0
Proline g 1.000 0
Serine g 1.148 0

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 15 (August 2002