I have to be honest I never used to keep the pumpkin seeds after carving a pumpkin for Halloween. I used to just toss them into the trash to make the clean up process a lot easier. But I have come to learn to appreciate them! They are actually tiny, little things of goodness that with a little bit of preparation can taste amazing. And the best is you can give them any taste you want from plain with just a dash of sea salt to sweet with a dash of cinnamon to spicy with just a dash of cayenne pepper. I think the secret lies in the technique and it is actually a lot easier than you think!
I have heard that many people boil the pumpkin seeds in salt water first before baking them or coating the entire cookie with olive oil. I have learned that less is something more; just cleaning them and placing them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper makes life easier on everyone (and that includes the clean up process 😉).
First you need to clean the pumpkin seeds off the sometimes pretty stubborn pumpkin flesh. The best way to do that is to scoop all the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin into a strainer. And then holding the strainer under running water. You will notice that the seeds will float, making it incredibly easy to separate the seeds from the flesh. When finished pat them dry with a paper towel or a clean kitchen cloth. Careful though they can be slippery!
Now, onto the baking process. A good rinse and getting them dry is incredibly important. This year, I have actually let the pumpkin seeds dry spread out on a paper towel overnight. They were dry but it turns out that some of them actually got stuck onto the paper towel and when pulled off had paper towel stuck to them. So, if you go the route of drying over night, I would recommend placing them on a kitchen cloth. You will have less issues.
Try to get as much water off as you can, the seeds will crisp a lot more if you do. So don’t carve a pumpkin without toasting or roasting the seeds. Believe me you won’t regret it. And since they are baked and not fried, you can enjoy them without feeling guilty!
TOASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS: PLAIN, SWEET & SPICY
(Serves 6 Prep Time 5 mins Cook Time 25 mins Total Time 30 mins)
- 2 cups pumpkin seeds, cleaned, and well-dried
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- sea salt
Preheat oven to 375F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds with the olive oil and sea salt.
Transfer the pumpkin seeds to the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the seeds are deeply golden.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a minute or two, and enjoy plain, or stir in any of the following for some flavor!
Add 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Add more if you are feeling spicy!
Transfer pumpkin seeds to a frying pan with 1 tablespoon butter, add 3 tablespoons runny honey and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Using a spatular move the seeds around until golden brown. Careful not to burn them! Let cool.
Or just enjoy them plain (baked with sea salt and olive oil).