Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)

pepitas
photo credit: gourmetsleuth

History

Pepitas have been eaten in Mexico dating back to ancient Aztec times. As with most foods, every part of the squash was eaten (except the shell). The blossoms were fried and used in soups, the flesh was cooked and eaten and the seeds were eaten raw or used in sauces.

Varieties

Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are harvested from a variety of pumpkin types and are available in several common forms.

Whole shell-on (or un-hulled) pepitas - available salted or unsalted. Can be toasted whole and salted or flavored with chile and lime. Eat as a snack.

Shelled (or hulled) pepitas - can be found raw or toasted, salted or unsalted. As a snack the seeds are usually toasted and flavored with salt, chile, and lime. Use in salads, salad dressings, or in pipian, a type of mole.

Ground pepita kernels - use in mole, cookies, breads. Although you may find ground seeds in the markets it is best to grind your own right before use.

Buy And Store

Pepitas can be found in most Mexican markets or local health food stores. If possible purchase the Mexican varieties and help support an ancient industry.

Store: As with most seeds and nuts pepitas have a high oil content so they will go rancid quickly. Purchase in amounts you will use within a week or so. Store in a tightly sealed plastic bag. Pepitas can be placed in freezer proof bags and frozen for up to 6 months or more.

Nutrition Information For Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)

Serving Size
1 cup
 
Calories
747
Calories from Fat
567
 
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 63g
100%
Saturated Fat 12g
20%
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 25mg
0%
Potassium
1114g
30%
Total Carbohydrate 25g
10%
Dietary Fiber 5g
20%
Sugars 1g
Protein 34g
70%
 
Vitamin A  0% Vitamin C  0%
Calcium  0% Iron  0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Simple Chile Lime Pepitas

You can find pepitas with a spicy coating of chile and lime in almost any Mexican market.  Here is a simple recipe to make at home.  Eat these as a snack, or use to top pumpkin soup or your favorite salad.

  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/8 teaspoon chile powder (chipotle or ancho are good choices)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Heat oil in a medium size frying pan over medium high, add the pepitas and cook just until they start to pop and turn a golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the lime juice, chile powder and salt. Continue to cook until the lime juice evaporates.  Remove from the stove then transfer to a plate to cool.

author

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.