The Season for Squash & Pumpkin Seed Cracker Recipe

Bursting with flavor, vitamins, minerals and fiber, all varieties of winter squash currently appearing in farmer’s markets and grocery store produce sections are true nutritional super foods.

Just one ½ cup serving delivers 100% of your daily vitamin A requirement and a mega dose of antioxidants at a skinny 37 calories.

There’s a huge selection to choose from. Old favorites like pumpkins, acorn, butternut and Hubbard squash are now joined by newer varieties like sweet mama, sweet dumpling and buttercup. Look for pumpkins and squash that feel heavy, and are free of cuts, mold or cracks. Protected by that hard, tough skin, most kinds of squash will stay fresh for up to three months when stored in a dry, cool place. Thoroughly wash skins before cutting squash to remove any possible bacteria or contaminants.

The yellow and deep orange color of the flesh of winter squash comes from the antioxidant beta carotene, which is credited with helping to prevent chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer, and could also slow age-related macular degeneration. The vitamin A in squash supports a strong immune system, healthy skin, and good vision.

More good news about the nutritional benefits of squash – its high vitamin C content can help lower blood pressure, and even protect arteries from damage. Also, the Potassium in squash helps the heart, kidneys, muscles and digestive system function smoothly.

Buying this nutritional powerhouse in season, and locally, gives you the benefit of the freshest meals this fall, while you’re also supporting your local economy.

While raw squash is a delicious addition to soups, smoothies and juices, the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) even uses the seeds for an extra serving of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Guests love the savory Pumpkin Seed Crackers, which are easy to make at home:

Dehydrated Pumpkin Seed Crackers

Yield: 12 1-ounce servings

Ingredients:

1 cup soaked pumpkin seeds, rinsed

½ cup soaked sesame seeds, rinsed

½ chopped red bell pepper

½ cup chopped yellow onion

½ chopped firm tomato

¾ cup chopped zucchini

¼ sprig fresh basil

¼ tbsp. dried oregano

¼ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tbsp. tomato powder

Place half of the pumpkin seeds and half of the sesame seeds in mixing bowl. Blend remaining seeds in Vitamix with vegetables, herbs and spices until mixture is smooth. Add mixture to mixing bowl with whole seeds and stir well with spatula. Spoon onto dehydrator trays in ½ inch tall clumps; do not flatten. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for two days, turning crackers over after the first day.

Savor nutrient-rich squash dishes and other delicious raw, live, organic vegan meals during a stay at the Optimum Health Institute. To learn more about our holistic healing program, in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.

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