Pepita is a spanish word for "little seed of squash" from a pumpkin or any kind of squash, but traditionally, the word pepita in cooking is referred to the roasted end product of pumpkin seeds. Pepitas are a good source of iron, zinc, polyunsaturated fatty acids (including the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6), potassium, and magnesium. As well according to Wikipedia:
"One gram of pumpkin seed protein contains as much L-tryptophan as a full glass of milk, making it of interest to researchers studying the treatment of anxiety disorders. Some eat the seeds as preventative measure against onset of anxiety attacks, clinical depression and other mood disorders.
Sounds like eating Pepitas would be more fun than taking pills.
Candied Ginger Pepitas are a yummy add to things like a salad topping, as a plain snack, into cereal or oatmeal, on top of yogurt, or into a trail mix. Making them is simple.
- 1 cup Pumpkin Seeds (raw is best if you can get them)
- 1 Tbsp light brown sugar (I use organic sugar)
- 1/2 Tbsp evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
- 1/4 tsp powdered ginger (you can add more if you like a more gingery taste)
- Some sea salt for taste
Let's start creating:
- Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or wax or parchment paper. You
will be quickly transferring the Pepitas from the saucepan to the
baking sheet for drying.
- Heat up a saucepan, put the evoo into the heated pan and then the light brown sugar, ginger, and salt.
- Note: Now, you have to do this next step really fast because if not the sugar will ball up fast and the nuts will get all stuck together. But not to worry, if this starts to happen, there is a quick fix.Have some water on standby. If the sugar starts balling up and hardening pour a little water in to help dissolve the sugar a bit. Just put a wee little water to get the sugar to un-ball.
- Let the sugar mostly melt and then pour in the pepitas and start
"sauteeing" really fast. I say mostly melt because if you wait too long
you can start to burn the sugar and then it will get too hard. You want
to look for some initial soft gooiness and pour the seeds in.
- Sautee your Pepitas in the sauce pan until everything is nice and coated, and then pour the seeds onto you baking sheet. Spread them nicely apart so they can dry. The seeds should be completely dry in about 30 minutes.Voila! Enjoy.
For this recipe, I call for only a small amount of sugar because we just want to slightly candy coat the seeds, not cover the whole thing, so you can still enjoy the full flavor of the seeds and consume less sugar which is overall healthier for you. A hint of candy and ginger is fabulous.