Fall has arrived and with it, the pumpkin season! There are always plenty of pumpkins to carve up around Halloween time and a great way to make use of the pumpkin seeds is to roast them for an easy, healthy snack.
I love to eat them shells and all. If they’re properly toasted and are small to medium sized, they are wonderfully crunchy and easy to eat.
The larger carving pumpkins will yield large seeds, which are probably best to eat shelled.
Don’t throw out your pumpkin seeds!
How to Get the strings off Pumpkin Seeds
When you first scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin, it seems like it will be impossible to separate the sticky, clingy strings from the seeds. Not so!
Just rinse the mass of seeds and strings under cool water and the seeds will separate easily. The leftover strings can be discarded or composted.
The Best Way to Salt Pumpkin Seeds
The challenge is, how to get the salt inside the shells to the seeds? It’s easy enough to salt the outside of the shells, but if you want the salt to permeate to the seeds the method I learned from my mother years ago does the trick.
Boil the seeds first in salted water, then toast them in the oven. This way the salt gets inside too. And you can control the amount of salt by how much you add to the water and how long you boil the seeds.
How Long to Bake Pumpkin Seeds
Regardless of the size or number of your seeds, bake them at 400°F. Watch them carefully — they’re done when they begin to lightly brown. Small pumpkin seeds may toast in around 5 minutes or so, while large pumpkin seeds may take up to 20 minutes.
More Ways to Flavor Your Pumpkin Seeds
These seeds are fantastic simply seasoned with salt, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can certainly add other seasonings. Add a few teaspoons of your favorite herb or spice blend after tossing the seeds with the oil and before roasting.
- For a savory snack, try tossing the pumpkin seeds with a few teaspoons of chili powder, curry powder, or herbes de provence.
- For a sweet-and-salty twist, try a dusting of pumpkin spice blend (of course!) or cinnamon and sugar.
Craving Pumpkin? Try These Recipes!
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
If you want to jazz up your pumpkin seeds, sprinkle with spices such as smoked paprika, cumin, or chile powder before they go into the oven.
- One medium sized pumpkin
- Extra virgin olive oil
1 Cut pumpkin, scrape out seeds, rinse: Cut open the pumpkin by cutting a circle around the stem end with a sharp knife (knife blade angled in), and pulling off the top.
Use a strong metal spoon to scrape the insides of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and strings.
Place the mass of pumpkin seeds in a colander and run under water to rinse and separate the seeds from everything else.
2 Boil pumpkin seeds in salted water for 10 min: Measure the pumpkin seeds in a cup measure. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to the pan for every half cup of pumpkin seeds. Add more salt if you would like your seeds to be saltier.
Bring the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
3 Bake seeds in 400°F oven until browned: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan or thick baking sheet with olive oil, about a teaspoon or so.
Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in a single layer, and toss them a bit to coat them with the oil on the pan.
Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds.
Small pumpkin seeds may toast in around 5 minutes or so, large pumpkin seeds may take up to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so they don't get over toasted. When lightly browned, remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack. Let the pumpkin seeds cool all the way down before eating.
Either crack to remove the inner seed (a lot of work and in my opinion, unnecessary) or eat whole.
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