Pumpkin Seeds as a Nutritious Snack and Source of Protein and Vegetable Oils
Brent Loy's innovative pumpkin breeding project consists of developing hull-less seeded pumpkins for the snack seed trade. "An under-exploited market for pumpkins is the use of seeds for food", he says. "Pumpkin seeds are very nutritious, with exceptionally high levels of protein (30 - 40%) and vegetable oil (40 - 50%)". But, to be able to eat the seeds, the leathery outer skin called the hull (botanically the seed coat) needs to be removed. That process is now done by hand, which is very labor-intensive and expensive. However, a genetic trait for thin seed coat exists in pumpkins, which results in hull-less seeds. Loy has introduced the hull-less trait into pumpkin varieties that produce high seed yields and larger seed.