Lady Godiva pumpkin produces seeds with no hulls. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: The beauty of Lady Godivas from the garden

So THAT’S where my Lady Godiva pumpkins went!

By Mary Lowther

When I cut open a pumpkin yesterday, planning to dehydrate it and turn it into flour, hull-less pumpkin seeds stared me in the face. So THAT’S where my Lady Godiva pumpkins went! I had planted them for the first time last year and lost track of where their markers were amid all that greenery, so they got harvested and stored alongside my Howden pumpkins. I had almost forgotten that I had even planted these pumpkins that boasted no hulls on the seeds.

Lady Godiva, what an appropriate, unforgettable name, and when I plant them this year, I won’t forget to write its location down in my notebook. I’ve toasted pumpkin seeds many times in the past, wondering why mine didn’t taste as delicious as the recipes claimed, wondering why the chefs didn’t mind having the insides of their mouths chewed up with the hulls, so I finally gave up.

When a fellow allotment gardener showed me her patch of hull-less seed pumpkins, I knew I had to grow some for myself. They grow the same way as other pumpkins, but the flesh is too bland even for me so I’m only using the seeds. “You’re growing all that pumpkin just for the seeds?” my frugal husband queried. But when it’s planted at the end of a bed and allowed to grow along the outside of it, or throughout the corn patch, it doesn’t take up any more garden space than a zucchini plant.

It’s nice to know that we can grow our own oily seeds in one season; seeds that can replace nuts and are a rich source of nutrients. They’re packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants. They’re also a great source of protein and healthy fats that protect the heart. They contain the amino acids tryptophan and glutamate that both nourish the brain.

The latest research suggests that pumpkin seeds possess a chemical that blocks DHEA, a hormone implicated in prostate and ovarian cancer.

This may all be true, but what I like best about pumpkin seeds is that they taste great! I figure that at my age, I don’t have to eat food that doesn’t taste good and I love pumpkin seeds. I’ve made decent green-tinged milk from store-bought hulled seeds, I’ve toasted them and used them in cookies. But my favourite way to eat them is when they’re spiced up and toasted in the following recipe, which I can now make from my own seeds:

Spicy Pepitas

2 cups pumpkin seeds, soaked at least 6 hours, then drained

¼ cup nutritional yeast (I use hemp protein)

1 ½ T. oil

¾ tsp. cumin

1 tsp. chile powder

½ tsp. garlic powder

¾ tsp. salt

Directions: Place all ingredients in mixing bowl and stir until pumpkin seeds are evenly coated. Spread on dehydrator trays and dry overnight or for 12 hours.

(I sprinkle them on salads, soup, porridge, peanut butter sandwiches).

Please contact mary_lowther@yahoo.ca with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.

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