When we were kids my Mom used to roast the seeds from the pumpkins we carved and today it is still a fun tradition that I carry on in my own kitchen. It has become an event to mark the changing seasons, and the upcoming Holidays. It’s a messy job but worth the effort; the seeds get crispy and the shells become light and crunchy. Finished off with butter and kosher salt, these roasted pumpkin seeds are an addictive snack that doesn’t last long in our house.
To tackle the task I spread sheets of newspaper out on the kitchen counter (makes for simple clean up afterwards – just roll up and toss), don some kitchen gloves, grab my plastic colander to wash the seeds and ready my sheet pan. I prefer the long gloves that cover part of my forearm because it helps minimize the pumpkin mess, and a plastic colander is much easier to clean that a metal mesh colander. After the top is cut out, grab a handful of seeds and pinch off the seeds into the colander, discard the strings on the newspaper. Two pumpkins yielded about 2 cups of seeds. If you are going to carve your pumpkin, be sure to scrape the inside with a large spoon to remove most of the remaining membrane. The seeds need to be rinsed (and drained) well in the colander and any leftover pumpkin strings removed. Spread the seeds out in a single layer on the sheet pan; it’s okay if some water remains because it’s impossible to dry them completely. The oven gets heated to a low 250 degrees F and the seeds roast for about 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so.
After cooking for a little over an hour, the seeds start to dry out and then the butter and salt are added to help them get golden brown and flavorful. They can be eaten warm or at room temperature; store any uneaten seeds in a covered container in the refrigerator. Now I just need to carve my pumpkins and set a votive candle inside for a scary decoration. Boo!
Eat well and share the love!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves two foodies – yields about 2 cups of seeds
2 medium to large carving pumpkins
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
Several sheets of newspaper
Long kitchen gloves
Sharp paring knife
Large metal spoon (to scrape out inside of pumpkin if carving)
Lay out several sheets of newspaper on the kitchen counter next to the sink, place the colander in the sink and put on your kitchen gloves (to help minimize the pumpkin mess).
Using a sharp paring knife, carefully cut a circle around the top of each pumpkin to remove the top (keep knife at a 45 degree angle so the top doesn’t slip inside). Cut off the attached pumpkin strings from the bottom and put the seeds in the colander.
Grab a handful of seeds from inside and pinch them off into the colander, discard the pumpkin strings on the newspaper. Continue process until all seeds are removed. Rinse the seeds well under cool water to remove the pumpkin residue, and remove any strings or pieces of pumpkin. Drain the seeds well – run your finger through the seeds a few times and shake the colander. Roll up the newspaper and throw away.
Heat the oven to 250 degrees F. Transfer the seeds to an ungreased sheet pan and spread out in a single layer. Place in oven and let cook for an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 30 minutes or so. Melt the butter and drizzle over the seeds, stir to coat them well. Season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and return pan to oven; let cook for another hour, stirring every 30 minutes, until seeds are crunchy and light golden color. Season with a generous pinch of salt, stir well and transfer to a bowl. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
Store any leftover seeds in a sealed container and refrigerate.
If you are carving your pumpkin, be sure to scrape out the inside to remove any remaining strings so there isn’t a fire hazard.