by Holladay Allen
Native Foods Cafe
Pumpkin season is almost here…. and I am super stoked for the following three reasons:
- Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Pie Temptation Ice Cream (if I can get my hands on a pint!)
And all the pepitas that come from the jack-o-lanterns! (Oh, and I would love some homemade vegan pumpkin ravioli, but we’ll see what happens with that.) Now I know that pepitas are available year round, but there is something special but harvesting them with your own bare hands from a sea of pumpkin guts… then toasting them in the oven with a sprinkle of sea salt whilst listening to old Halloween mix-tapes, or just plain old spooky sounds...
I also love adding them to kale salads, or every so often I make a simple dish of brown rice, kale sautéed with lemon, garlic & olive oil, black beans and homemade hummus… then I top with a generous portion of toasted pumpkin seeds. This is my kind of homey comfort food. If you find yourself dining at a Native Foods Café longing for pepitas, you will find them atop the Ensalada Azteca, as well as in our homemade pesto.
So pumpkin seeds are delicious, we got it. But there health properties are pretty amazing too. Take it away Wikipedia: The seeds are also good sources of protein, as well as iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and potassium. In regards to iron, 25 grams of pepitas can provide over 20 percent of the recommended daily iron intake.
AND they paralyze intestinal parasites. What?! How bizarre. I remember a friend of mine who had eaten sushi at a questionable establishment, worrying about whether or he was going to get worms from the sushi he had eaten… as it tasted “funny.” But then he said, “Well I’ll just eat a bunch of pumpkin seeds and kill all the potential worm babies growing in my stomach.” And I was baffled. But it is partially true. Pumpkin seeds can paralyze the worms (in the intestine) preventing them from latching on to the walls of the intestine, hence allowing them to move on out!
So what is it exactly that paralyzes the worms? Once again, I will leave that to Wikipedia: Cucurbitacin is any of a class of biochemical compounds that some plants — notably members of the family Cucurbitaceae, that includes the common pumpkins and gourds — developed in order to defend themselves from herbivores. Cucurbitacins are chemically classified as steroids.
Whoa. So pumpkins developed a compound to ward off us hungry herbivores. Pretty freakin’ amazing. Nature rules. So next time you find yourself with a new friend, or 100, that happen to live in your intestines…. load up on las pepitas bonitas!
Native Foods Cafe, vegan, vegan food, vegan restaurant, pumpkin seeds, pepitas, intestinal parasites