Pumpkin seed butter? Trust me, it isn’t as weird as it might sound, and it’s a powerhouse of goodness. Ruth’s recent post about magnesium might have been an eye-opener for you…magnesium deficiency is associated with seven of the top nine causes of death, and having chronically low levels of magnesium has been linked to many illnesses. Given its importance to our health, we need to make sure we’re getting enough of it.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the usual foods that work hard to keep us healthy are also great sources of magnesium: pumpkin seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, summer squash, black beans, and others, all listed in Ruth’s previous post.

Just a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains more than half the daily requirement of magnesium for women. So let’s look at how you can include pumpkin seeds into your diet on a more regular basis.

Pumpkin seeds have quite a delicate flavor and can be a tasty snack – a quick handful gives you a bit of a treat, gives you a boost, gives you a bunch of magnesium, and requires no effort. Nice!

If you’re not a fan of eating nuts and seeds, you might like the pumpkin seeds when made into a smooth creamy butter. The list of ingredients couldn’t be simpler, that’s for sure: pumpkin seeds! (Although you could add a tiny bit of salt and a few drops of olive oil if you wanted.)

You might be asking yourself what on earth you would do with pumpkin seed butter…As it turns out, it’s quite a versatile ingredient. You can spread it on toast, just as you would peanut butter or any other topping. You can scoop it onto sticks of celery or onto slices of apple (one of my favorite ways to eat it). Or you can add a spoonful into your oatmeal or smoothie to add that important healthy fat content (especially important if the smoothie contains more fruit than vegetables). Perhaps even more deliciously, you can also use the butter in other recipes, such as this gorgeous Pumpkin Seed Butter Ice Box Cake from the unconventionalbaker.com website.

How to select and buy

You can find pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) in many grocery stores. They are usually available as either shelled or unshelled, raw or roasted, organic or conventionally grown, pre-packaged or in bulk. In this recipe for pumpkin seed butter, I used organic, raw, shelled, pre-packaged seeds. If you buy in bulk, just be sure that the product is fresh and hasn’t been sitting in the bin for too long. (Nuts and seeds have a fairly short shelf life before they turn rancid, so I store them in the fridge.) If you want to use roasted seeds, it’s better to buy them raw and roast them at home. By roasting them at home, you can control the process; too much time in the oven has been shown to alter the helpful fats. [1]

Image shows raw pumpkin seeds prior to being made into magnesium rich pumpkin seed butter, as described in this post on CALMERme.comHow to roast pumpkin seeds

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160F/75C (This is quite a low setting; if your oven won’t go this low, then use the lowest setting you can and roast for a few minutes less.)
  2. Place the seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
  3. Roast in oven for 15 – 20 minutes.
  4. Let cool before using.

Serves 20 grams (scant 1 oz)

Pumpkin Seed Butter | Foodie Friday

This creamy pumpkin seed butter is a delicious way to boost your levels of magnesium...

30 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

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Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 3 cups pumpkin seeds
  • Optional (add at the end of processing; don't use these ingredients if you plan to use the butter in a cake recipe)
  • Scant 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Place the pumpkin seeds into the food processor, and whiz until smooth. Let the machine rest every few minutes to prevent over-heating of both the machine and the butter.
  2. Store in glass jars in the fridge.
Cuisine: Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, oil free option, refined sugar free |

Notes

Although the procedure for making nut and seed butters is very simple, it can be a bit nerve-wracking the first couple of times you try it. Patience and fortitude is needed! The seeds will go through several stages, changing from seeds, to powder, to little clumps, to bigger clumps. You might feel that the stuff clinging to the sides of the processor bowl will never turn into anything remotely like a butter, but just keep at it. Eventually, the clumps will turn into a big lump (that will bang about in the processor for a little bit) before turning into a lovely smooth pumpkin seed butter. In my processor, which is a well-used Cuisinart DLC7, it takes about 20 minutes of whizzing to go from seeds to butter, with a few breaks along the way to prevent both machine and butter from over-heating. Making nut or seed butter can be hard work for your food processor, so check to see if it's getting hot and let it rest every few minutes. You'll be scraping down the sides quite a bit, which will give the processor a short break, but if needed, let it sit for several minutes; it won't hurt the butter. The amount of pumpkin seeds you use should depend on the size of your food processor. Three to four cups is a good amount for my processor, which has a 7" work bowl.

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http://calmerme.com/pumpkin-seed-butter-foodie-friday/

Enjoy

A one-ingredient recipe that lets you freely adjust the quantity up or down to suit your requirements.

Keeps well in the fridge for up to 12 weeks.

A healthy snack when scooped into a stick of celery or smeared on a slice of apple.

What’s good about this recipe

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium.

Pumpkin seeds also provide protein, iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, copper, several forms of vitamin E, and a whole lot of antioxidants.

Allergic reactions to pumpkin seeds are quite rare, so this makes a great alternative to other nut butters.

Image shows nutrition label for the magnesium rich pumpkin seed butter recipe as described in this post on CALMERme.com

Nutrition label for pumpkin seed butter

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Notes

[1] Siegmiund B and Murkovic M. Changes in chemical composition of pumpkin seeds during the roasting process for production of pumpkin seed oil (Part 2: volatile compounds). Food Chemistry, Volume 84, Issue 3, February 2004, Pages 367-374.

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