Are you including pumpkin seeds in your diet? If you don't enjoy chomping down on a handful of pepitas, try making raw pumpkin seed milk. It is LOADED with nutrients, and is absolutely delicious. As with the homemade almond milk, cashew milk, macadamia milk, hazelnut milk, Brazil nut milk, coconut milk, and rice milk recipes I have posted, this raw pumpkin seed milk recipe is as easy as SOAK, BLEND, and DEVOUR, and makes a fabulous base for smoothies, ice creams, and desserts.
Pumpkin seed milk is a fun way to include these nutrient-rich seeds into your diet. Best of all, this food is native and local to the Americas! As squash was one of the first domesticated plants in the Americas, there is a long history of enjoying pepitas dating back to the native Americans and ancient Aztec civilizations. The United States is still one of the largest producers of pumpkin seeds, along with Mexico, India and China.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the highest natural sources of protein with all of the essential amino acids. A handful of pepitas makes up almost half of the recommended daily allowance of protein. They are also a rich source of iron. One cup of pepitas accounts for almost half of the recommended daily allowance of iron. Pepitas are also a good source of zinc, which has been linked to assisting with prostate health and bone density; and calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and copper; as well as Vitamin A, B and E.
They also contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids such as omega 3 and omega 6. Pumpkin seeds have also been shown to lower cholesterol levels and assist with heart health; as well as combat arthritis with their anti-inflammatory properties. The high amount of tryptophan contained in pepitas has also prompted researchers to use it to help people suffering anxiety and depression.
Pumpkin seeds have a subtle sweet and nutty flavour which produces a delicious milk. Some pumpkin seeds have a creamy husk, but the majority of pepitas sold are flat and dark green in colour, so your milk will have a green tinge to it. Pumpkin seeds are commonly sold roasted and salted or spiced for use as a snack. But, I always purchase and consume them raw so I can soak and dehydrate them in order to preserve their delicate fats and oils, and the integrity of their nutritional profile.
Always purchase pumpkin seeds from a health food store with a high turn over to ensure maximum freshness and quality, and store in a sealed glass container in the fridge, and consume within a couple of months. You can easily make your own by scooping them out of the pumpkins and then dehydrating them at a low temperature. Good news for people with food sensitivities -- pumpkin seeds are not a common allergenic food and contain less oxalates than other raw nuts and seeds.
This milk has a small amount of texture. You don't really need to strain it. In fact, you will get more nutritional benefit if you don't strain it. However, for a silky smooth texture for use in raw smoothies, vegan puddings and desserts, strain the mixture with a nut milk bag or sheer nylon knee-high hosiery. Use the smooth pulp for use in crackers, savoury balls, crusts etc. I actually like to add some salt and just eat it with a spoon!
Pumpkin seed milk does have a fairly distinctive flavour. I like to sweeten it and add a bit of vanilla extract to heighten the flavours. It is absolutely delicious mixed with some carrot juice, a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, and some Sweet Leaf Vanilla Creme or English Toffee Liquid Stevia. I will post my favourite "alkaline, sugar free, pumpkin pie smoothie" tomorrow which uses these ingredients and some raw coconut meat. It is TO DIE FOR.