After you carve your Jack O’Lanterns or assemble your from-scratch pumpkin pie, you may be wondering what you can do with all those pumpkin seeds. Should you throw them away? Definitely not!
You can make a great natural snack for your family by roasting your pumpkin seeds with a little bit of salt. Pumpkin seeds, after all, are nutrient rich. Just a quarter of a cup of these seeds equals half your recommended daily amount of magnesium. Likewise, they are a rich source of zinc and Omega-3 fats. They also contain tryptophan, the same amino acid in turkey that converts into melatonin, the so-called sleep hormone.
Despite all those great benefits, it could be that no one in your house actually likes to eat pumpkin seeds. If that’s the case, then you can pass these wonderful Halloween treats off to your feathered friends! It takes just a little preparation to get them ready for your bird feeders.
Here’s the full recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds for birds:
• Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
• Separate the pumpkin seeds from the stringy insides. It’s best to do this while the seeds and the pumpkin guts in soaking in water. The seeds float, and the stringy stuff doesn’t.
• Thoroughly wash the seeds to remove all the pulp and debris. Dry them off fairly well.
• Lightly grease a cookie sheet with vegetable oil and spread the seeds out in a single layer. One tablespoon of oil is enough for the whole sheet.
• Bake for about 40 minutes, turning the seeds every 5 minutes or so. You don’t have to turn each seed individually, just scoop them up and flip a whole spoonful at a time.
• Once they’re lightly browned, they ready to be removed. Allow the seeds to cool before adding to a bird feeder.
What Birds Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Generally, larger birds are best able to eat pumpkin seeds because they have stronger beaks. Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals love pumpkin seeds. Don’t be surprised if you spot a Gray Catbird lingering under a pumpkin seed-filled feeder, too!
It will take a little time, but if you hull the seeds, smaller birds will enjoy them as well!
You can also be sure that the squirrels and chipmunks in your neighborhood will enjoy these treats. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see them raiding freshly carved Jack O’Lanterns.
Best Feeders for Pumpkin Seeds
If you have a lot of pumpkin seeds, then you probably want a bird feeder that can hold them until your birds arrive. For that, you want a bird feeder with wide ports so the seed can flow through it.
Most hopper feeders are made for a wide variety of seed, so they are great for distributing pumpkin seeds. Another option is any of the NO/NO® collapsible feeders. The diamond mesh feeding areas are perfectly spaced for pumpkin seeds. These feeders are also a favorite among cardinals and Blue Jays.
Information sourced from PerkyPet.com