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Originally published Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 5:00 PM

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What to do with pumpkin seeds

How to roast pumpkin seeds and use them to add flavor to soups, sauces, cookies and more.

Q: What can I do with the pumpkin seeds from my jack-o'-lantern?

A: When carving up your jack o' lantern, don't ditch the seeds along with the rest of your pumpkin's innards. Cook them up for a tasty snack or the perfect addition to tonight's dinner.

Pumpkin seeds, also known as "pepitas," are common in Mexican cuisine. After you give them a quick plunge in boiling water or toast them in the oven, you can eat both the outer white hull and the inner dark green kernel.

One ounce of pepitas (about 85 seeds) provides 126 calories, 5 grams of fat (including some good-for-you omega-3 fats) and 5 grams of protein. The seeds also contain potassium and magnesium — for healthy muscles — and nearly 20 percent of your daily zinc, an important mineral for immunity and skin health.

Get the seeds out using a large scoop and remove any stubborn strings from the pumpkin flesh; rinse with cool water and dry well.

Toast the seeds in a skillet along with some oil, salt and pepper. Or, you can toss raw seeds with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them on a sheet pan in an oven at 375 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes.

Once toasted, fresh pumpkin seeds keep in an airtight container for about a week.

Add your toasted pumpkin seeds to salads and trail mix, or sprinkle them over cooked oatmeal. You can purée the seeds into salad dressings, soups and sauces; many traditional moles use pumpkin seeds for flavor and as a thickener. Try baking with pumpkin seeds, too. They're delicious in muffins and cookies.

For another method, see Alton Brown's video on roasting pumpkin seeds at foodnetwork.com/roasting-pumpkin-seeds-with-alton/video/index.html">www.foodnetwork.com/roasting-pumpkin-seeds-with-alton/video/index.html.

Courtesy of Healthy Eats on foodnetwork.com

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