I’d like to tell you my favorite part of carving pumpkins is the challenge of creating something scary, then lighting the candle inside the pumpkin and watching the flame dance in the dark as your spooky Jack’O’Lantern comes to life! The truth is, I love the seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a delicious reward for not cutting off my fingers each year!
When our kids were growing up, they each got their own pumpkin. They loved scooping the insides out of the pumpkin and squishing their fingers through the pumpkin guts to separate the seeds. Consequently, gracing our porch every year were three huge gourds that let us have fun and let me have plenty of seeds to welcome November. The kids are grown now and my granddaughter (AKA Mini Sous) is too small to care about carving, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get pumpkins this year! Oh, no. I bought two and shamelessly harvested for them for their bounty of nutty goodness!
Depending on the thickness of the walls of your pumpkin, opening it may be the most difficult part. To open your pumpkin, cut a circle around the stem end with a sharp knife. Keep the blade angled in as you cut and please, be careful! Once you have it open, cut the seeds and string off the top and then using a strong metal spoon, scrape out the insides of the pumpkin! Scoop out the seeds, strings and all!
Put the pumpkin guts in a colander, then them run under water to rinse and separate the seeds.
Put your cleaned pumpkin seeds in a cup measure. Hopefully you’ll have at least a cup or more of seeds! Once you know how much you have, 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. So, if you have 1 cup of seeds, you’ll have four cups of water and two tablespoons of salt.
Bring the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and drain on paper towels. The seeds don’t have to be completely dry, but pat them off before you season them.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. I like to season my seeds differently every year. This year, I wanted spicy seeds. So after I dried them off, I tossed them with about a teaspoon of oil, then spread the seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. You can also use a shallow roasting pan if you wish! To season the seeds, I used Mild Hatch Chile Powder from my friends at Melissa’s Produce, ground cumin and a bit of kosher salt.
Depending on how spicy you like your seeds, you can use either hot or mild chile powder. I’m a bit of a whimp, so I like mine with the mild. After your seeds are seasoned, place them in the oven and 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 as few as 5 minutes, where large pumpkin seeds can take up to 20 minutes. Just keep an eye on them! I usually check every 5 minutes and stir them every 10 minutes so they don’t get over toasted.
Mmmmm! Don’t those look good?!? When they’re toasty and lightly browned, remove the pan from the oven and let your roasted pumpkin seeds cool on a rack. Before you start eating them, make sure they’ve cooled enough so you won’t burn your tongue. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything!
I like to eat my roasted pumpkin seeds whole, but you can crack them to remove the inner seed if that’s your preference. The seeds will keep in an airtight container for about a week, but seriously, they’re so good, they won’t last that long!
Enjoy, my friends!