Fresh pumpkins, like fresh coconuts, can often be a “pain in the butt” and is something that most of us are going to do very rarely…like probably once a year at Halloween.
So the very few times that we do actually chop the head off and then dive into its “skull” with a metal object, let’s be sure to take full advantage of this moment.
By gathering the seeds and roasting them.
(Sure, I know you can buy pumpkin seed all year long, but we are trying to progress into a zero-waste country, so how dare you simply throw them away?)
Those pumpkin seeds that so many of us simply throw away actually make a healthy, delicious snack…not to mention a key ingredient in many gourmet entrees—especially in countries of Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.
Choosing Your Pumpkin…You can roast the seeds of any pumpkin, but if you’re actually going to cook with the pumpkin, be sure to read my previous posts.
Finding the Rest of the Stuff That You Will Need…In addition to the obvious pumpkin, you will need a sharp knife, an ice cream scoop, a colander, and a towel..
Prepping the Pumpkin…How you get your seeds out of your pumpkin depends on what you are planning to do with the pumpkin itself.
Attack the pumpkin from the top If you’re planning on carving your pumpkin to make a jack o’ lantern. Slice the pumpkin in half if you’re planning on roasting it.
Regardless of how you dive into your pumpkin, now use an ice cream scoop to start scraping out the pumpkin guts. In order to get all of the seeds, you’re probably gonna have to actually get your hands into the gooey mess also.
Collect the seeds in a colander as you get them out.
Once you have collected all, or at least most, of the seeds, rinse your seeds under cold running water to remove any pulp and fiber.
Pat the washed seeds dry with paper towels as you are sreading them out on a ungreased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan.
Toss the seeds with melted butter, Himalayan or other natural salt, and pepper.
Stir to coat.
Prepping the Oven…Preheat oven to 350°F.
Pre-boiling…Many people boil their pumpkin seeds before roasting them in order to make them extra crispy, but this can be skipped if you need to.
Baking…Roast the pumpkin seeds at about 200 degrees for about twenty minutes, or until light golden brown and crisp, stirring once.
Cooling...Cool at least ten minutes before serving.
Microwaving…If you’re really in a rush, you can “roast” your pumpkin seeds in the microwave. Place them in a single layer in a glass pie plate. Microwave them for about 2 minutes and then stir. Microwave again for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring after each minute, until the seeds are dry and crunchy.
Season…A simple sprinkle of salt and drizzle of olive oil or melted butter always do the trick, but there are so many seasonings that bring out the best in pumpkin seeds. You can keep it basic, go sweet or even spicy. Try a couple of our favorites twists on your next batch before you toss them in the oven!
For each cup of raw seeds, evenly coat with…
Italian: 2 tablespoon melted butter + ¼ cup grated Parmesan + ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
Sweet: 2 tablespoons melted butter + 1 tablespoon brown sugar + ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Savory: 2 tablespoons melted butter + 1 teaspoon seasoned salt + 1 teaspoon white vinegar (Note: Add the vinegar after roasting.)
Spicy: 2 tablespoons olive oil + ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning + ½ teaspoon fresh lime zest (Note: Add the zest after roasting.)