With Halloween right around the corner, you, like me, may be gutting a pumpkin this weekend…transforming it into a jack-o-lantern. If so, I thought I’d re-post a post Britt did a couple of years ago about some pretty tasty pumpkin seed recipes.
Happy Halloween Y’all,
Okay…with Halloween 2014 behind us, I may be a day late and a dollar short with this post, but better late that never. Right? But if you’re like me and have pumpkins that you didn’t carve into jack-o-lanterns still sitting on your front porch as fall decor…then I’m right on time. If not… “pin it” for next year ;). Regardless, I thought you might want to try one of these tasty…and easy pumpkin seed recipes.
So last weekend, my friend Jessica told me about how she and her family like to roast pumpkin seeds…and experiment with different seasonings. It sounded like something fun to do with my girls…and knowing that pumpkin seeds are really good for you…and with three pumpkins sitting on my front porch…I thought we’d sacrifice one and give it a try.
Now I’ve never roasted pumpkin seeds before. I do remember my dad roasting them when I was a kid after we carved our jack-o-lanterns…but honestly, they always seemed to have a slightly burned flavor. Well…my friend Jessica explained that the “inside seed”…the actual Pumpkin seed…cooks before the outside turns brown…so you have to be very careful not to burn the insides. Good to know!
So Jessica recommends that while you’re cooking your seeds…take one out periodically and open it up to check to make sure that they aren’t cooking too fast. And since ovens vary in how quickly they cook, you’ll need to watch them pretty closely.
That’s your first tip…make sure you don’t overcook them. If you wait until they’re browned on the outside, you probably will have burned the inside.
So…while on this pumpkin seed roasting adventure, I asked several friends about their favorite ways to roast pumpkin seeds…and I’ve found that there are quite a few different approaches. I’ve tried a couple of these “recipes,” but there are still more I want to try…and with 2 pumpkins still sitting on my front porch…I will. However, I thought I’d go ahead and share what I’ve learned so far in case you want to do some experimenting of your own.
Clean & Dry Your Pumpkin Seeds
- Regardless of what else you do with your pumpkin seeds, to get started you need to scoop them out of your pumpkin with a metal spoon. Then rinse them under water in a colander…separating the seeds from the stringy pulp.
- You will then need to dry them. I have one friend who towel dries them while another lets them dry overnight on the counter. So depending on how much time you have, there’s your first option to experiment with.
- Once your seeds are clean and dry you are ready to prepare and roast them.
Options to Prepare, Roast & Season Your Pumpkin Seeds
- Al la a Pumpkin Queen (well maybe a Pumpkin Expert): My friend Jen is from Circleville, Ohio…home of the renowned annual Pumpkin Show…a community-wide event that’s taken place every October for 108 years! So Jen knows a thing or two about pumpkins….and her take on roasting pumpkin seeds is quite simple.
- After drying her pumpkin seeds…but before roasting them, she tosses them in a pan with a little oil and then seasons them with salt and pepper. She’ll sometimes use other seasons like garlic salt or cayenne pepper…but usually just salt and pepper.
- Then she roasts them at a low temperature for a long time…250 degrees for approximately 2 hours. And remember…check them every once and awhile to make sure that they don’t burn.
- Savory Pumpkin Seeds: My friend Shelby likes to beef up her pumpkin seeds with the taste of Worcestershire sauce.
- She mixes 2 cups of pumpkin seeds with a 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2 Tablespoon melted butter and 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- She then spreads the pumpkin seed mixture in a shallow pan…and then, like Jen, bakes it for 2 hours at 250 degrees.
- The Great Pumpkin Seed Experiment: Now Jessica, who initially got me all excited about roasting pumpkin seeds, has a little different strategy to roasting.
- First off, she says the key step to successfully roasting pumpkin seeds is to boil them with salt first. She places the seeds in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt for every half cup of pumpkin seeds and brings them to a boil. She then lets them simmer for 10 minutes so the salt penetrates the shell.
- Then she removes them from the heat, drains and dries them off with a paper towel.
- She then coats a roasting pan or cookie sheet with olive oil, tossing the seeds in the oil and spreading them out in a single layer.
- She bakes them at 375°F on the top rack until the seeds just begin to brown…about 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Remember to keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so that they don’t get overly toasted.
- When very lightly browned, she removes the pan from the oven and let’s it cool on a rack.
- Here is where my friend Jessica and her family have some fun experimenting. While the pumpkin seeds are still warm she divides them into bowls with different seasonings and then gently tosses them. That’s it…that easy.
- Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning is Jessica’s family’s favorite…but they’ve also tried brown sugar, cinnamon & sugar, curry, and good ol’sea salt.
So there you have it…some tips and how-to’s for roasting pumpkin seeds for a tasty and healthy fall snack. We still have some experimenting of our own to do…but so far, my favorite is simply seasoning them with sea salt. I’m pretty simple when it comes to seasonings! But I’d love to hear from you if you have any tips or favorite seasonings for this pumpkin seed roasting novice. Please share…I’d love to try them out with my family!
Happy Fall Y’all!