Why is it that pumpkin seeds roasted at home taste so very different from pumpkin seeds that you buy? Probably the whole soak-the-commercial-ones-in-salt-water thing, right? Each year, when we pick out our pumpkins, inevitably one of the hooligans asks when we can roast the seeds. They seem to think there’s a screwtop on the pumpkins or something, and always forget that they have to sort through the gooey pumpkin guts to claim the seeds for roasting.
Since everyone MUST have their very own jack o’lantern, we generally end up with plenty of seeds to roast. My favorite GI Joe is a purist, and only likes them with salt, whereas everyone else likes the salty but really enjoys being able to mix sweet in with the salt. So we make two batches, of course.
For either method, you’ll need to scoop out the pumpkin seeds and sort them from the stringy pulp. It’s messy, but somewhat satisfying to squeeze all those seeds out of the goo. Rinse and let the seed dry as much as possible. We pour them onto a clean dishtowel and press another one over them to quickly dry them. Because we have no patience, of course.
The Classic: Salty Roasted Seeds
Spread the dry seeds onto a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Spray with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt (and sometimes I get a little crazy and add pepper, too!). Bake at 275 for about 45 minutes, stirring halfway through, until they’re crunchy. Unfortunately, the best way to tell when they’re done is to taste them. You’ll need to do this, since your kids might get burned. Oh, well. The sacrifices of being a parent.
Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds:
In a small bowl, mix
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 ground ginger
1 pinch cayenne pepper, to taste
As above, Spread the dry seeds onto a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Spray with olive oil, then sprinkle the seasoning mix over seeds, stirring to make sure they’re evenly coated. Bake at 275 for about 45 minutes, until crunchy (and delicious).
The recipe for the sweet and spicy ones came from my friend Jackie many years ago…what a nice surprise when she dropped those pumpkin seeds off one day! I just love it when a recipe reminds of friendships and the joys of various places we’ve been stationed…after all, isn’t that the true satisfaction of making good food…having good friends and family to share it?