It’s the season for pumpkin everything. During the time from Halloween to Thanksgiving, the pumpkin craze extends far beyond pie. From lattes to pumpkin-flavored craft beer, the pumpkin has taken off in the world of food. But what about the lowly and rather slimy pumpkin seed? Here’s how to make this slimy seed into a scrumptious, crunchy snack food.
Making Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
First, you’ll need a pumpkin. In the fall, finding a pumpkin is not very difficult. It’s a bit of a guess how many seeds you’ll get, but try to choose one that feels nice and heavy. Pie pumpkins such as the sugar pie variety tend to be heavier on flesh rather than on seeds, so choose a jack-o-lantern variety if you’re searching for seeds. Did you know that you can also eat seeds from other winter squash as well? They’re also selected to produce a lot of squash flesh rather than seeds, so you’ll get fewer seeds from an acorn or butternut squash, but they are also delicious.
To remove the seeds, carve the pumpkin for eating or for a Halloween jack-o-lantern. To remove the most flesh and seeds, use a sturdy spoon such as an ice cream scoop. Separate the flesh or “pumpkin guts” from the seeds. Place the seeds in one bowl and the flesh in another.
Soak the pumpkin seeds in water and move them between your fingers to remove any extra strings from the inside of the pumpkin. Rinse them one more time, and drain them. Pat them dry in a towel. Now you’re ready to get cooking!
Preheat your oven to 250 F. You want the seeds to cook slowly and thoroughly, without burning.
Oil a wide pan. Choose a pan that allows you to spread out your pumpkin seeds. They won’t cook as easily if they’re in a thick layer. Butter is delicious, or you can use coconut oil if you’re looking for a vegan recipe. Choose a coconut oil that does not have a strong coconut flavor unless you like coconut-flavored seeds!
Spread the washed seeds across the pan. For each cup of pumpkin seeds, cut 1/8 to 1/4 cup of butter in fine chunks and dot it across the top of the pumpkin seeds. Add salt to taste. My preference is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt for each cup of seeds.
If you’d like to season your pumpkin seeds, you certainly can. Add an ample pinch of cumin, garlic salt, or cayenne if you’d like flavored or spicy pumpkin seeds.
Now, place your pan of pumpkin seeds into the oven. Cook slowly until the seeds are toasted, crunchy, and golden brown. This may take up to 1 1/2 or 2 hours in an oven at low heat. This is a good chance to warm up your pumpkin pie shell while you’re at it!
When the seeds are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool. They’ll get even more crunchy and delicious. For a nutritious snack, mix pumpkin seeds with popcorn.
Why eat pumpkin seeds? They’re very nutritious. They’re a sneaky source of protein and fat for children’s lunches, and they also contain zinc, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and copper.
While pumpkins are delightful to carve and yummy in pies, remember to save those seeds. Freshly roasted pumpkin seeds are one of fall’s most delicious foods.
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