When I was a kid, we never carved pumpkins without roasting the seeds. Unfortunately those were the days before the Internet and the beat-up old cookbook on the kitchen counter only mentioned the seeds of a pumpkin in terms of instructing you to toss them in the trash… So we winged it! 350 degrees sounds good…a little salt….butter? Sure! …10 minutes…20 minutes…who knows! Luckily (to a bunch of kids) the novelty of eating pumpkin seeds far outweighed the nasty chewiness that ensued.
Fast forward to today: I gutted two Sugar pumpkins in preparation for roasting them and caught my husband staring longingly at the pile of guts on the cutting board.
Ryan:“Think we could roast the seeds?”
Me: “Sure, why not. Better look online though, so we do it right.”
Ryan was on his iPod faster than I could blink. He found a post titled “How to roast perfect pumpkin seeds – Easy, crunchy, addictive!” on the Oh She Glows blog. Needless to say, with a title like THAT I was sold!
I will now attempt to outline our adventure roasting pumpkin seeds with the step-by-step advice of Oh She Glows:
“…Clean the seeds. The annoying-but-necessary task is that you have to meticulously clean the seeds until there are no signs of pumpkin guts. After picking off the strands, give them a GOOD rinse with water in a colander…”
After Ryan and a very enthusiastic three-year-old Charlie separated the seeds from the other pumpkin entrails, they threw them into a colander for washing. It turns out washing pumpkin seeds is painfully “annoying”! The orange gunk clings to them and the slippery sliminess makes it hard to remove. We washed them as thoroughly as possible but at some point I suggested that the crud would probably float to the top when we boil them and be easier to separate …Well it turns out pumpkin seeds float, so don’t listen to that advice. Live and learn! It’s do-able though. This picture shows the seeds pre-cleaning and post-boiling:
“…Boil for 10 minutes in salt water. Using Elise’s method for inspiration, I added the pumpkin seeds to a medium-sized pot of water along with 1 tsp salt. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes over low-medium heat. Apparently, this method helps make the pumpkin seeds easier to digest and produces a crispy outer shell during roasting…”
There’s the floating issue I mentioned earlier. 🙂
“…Drain the seeds in a colander and dry lightly with a paper towel or tea towel. The seeds will stick to the towel, but just rub them off with your fingers. Don’t worry, they don’t have to be bone dry – just a light pat down…”
We used a clean dry dish cloth instead of paper towel (our budget doesn’t allow us to purchase paper towel very often), but it still did the job beautifully.
“…Spread seeds onto a baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (I only needed to use about 1/2-1 tsp). Massage oil into seeds and add a generous sprinkle of Herbamare (or fine grain sea salt will do). Try to spread out the seeds as thin as possible with minor overlapping…”
We varied from the recipe here. Ryan threw the seeds back into the (now empty, dry and cool) boiling pot and tossed them with olive oil as well as some Kosher salt, garlic powder, chili powder and paprika. Next, he greased a cookie sheet with olive oil, sprinkled it with more salt and spread the seeds out in an even layer on it.
“…Roast seeds at 325F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Roast for another 8-10 minutes (if your oven temp is off, this could vary a lot!). During the last 5 minutes of roasting, remove a few seeds and crack open to make sure the inner seeds are not burning (you don’t want the inner seed brown). Cool a couple and pop them into your mouth to test. They are ready when the shell is super crispy and easy to bite through. The inner seed should have only a hint of golden tinge to it. They should not be brown…”
The temperature in our decrepit old oven fluctuates mercilessly, so we checked the seeds and stirred them more often than recommended. It worked though: nothing burned.
“…EAT! Remove from oven, add a bit more Herbamare, and dig in! Ah, so good, so good! There is no need to remove the outer shell; it’s quite possibly the best part…”
So delicious!!! Charlie keeps calling them “Pumpkin Nuts”. I guess he identifies “seeds” as the things you plant in the dirt and “nuts” as something you roast and eat. The closest I’ve gotten out of him is “Pumpkin seed nuts”… Close enough; Let’s eat!