Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Seeds!

Yay!  I LOVE pumpkin seeds!  This is a kind of recipe or rather more a discussion about roasting 'em. 

I have discovered a few things over the years.  The seeds in those big pumpkins sold to be jack-o-lanterns are rather tough and have to be shelled when eaten like sunflower seeds.  The seeds in those little sugar pie pumpkins- the ones sold for baking and cooking- are much more tender.  I don't even save the seeds from larger pumpkins anymore.  But I usually buy several of the smaller ones in October and November, so I always have some seeds to roast. 

When cleaning the pumpkin, I put the seeds and membrane into a bowl in the sink and fill it with water.  I let the seeds soak while I prep the pumpkin flesh.  By the time I come back to the seeds they are pretty clean from soaking.  I run my fingers through the bath and remove any of the flesh or membranes.  Then I pour it through a colander.  I usually give them another rinse then, too.

After they drip in the colander for a while, I line a baking sheet with paper towels.  (I always buy white so that I don't get ink on my food or craft projects.)  Then I spread the seeds on the towels to dry thoroughly, usually overnight.  When the seeds are dry, I remove the paper towel.  Some seeds stick and have to be pulled off.  And then I use the towel to kind of go through the seeds one more time to remove any excess dampness.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Pile the seeds in the center of the baking sheet.  Pour a healthy amount of a good quality olive oil, several tablespoons at least.  Then sprinkle generously with a good coarse salt.  I use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt as my kitchen standard.  And don't forget to pepper them to taste, too.

My recent batch was 2 little pumpkins.  I probably used 3 tablespoons oil and 4 3-finger pinches of salt.  Toss it all together to mix and coat well.  Then spread them out on the pan, so they are mostly single layer.  Don't be afraid to taste one right now before baking to measure seasoning and adjust.  Then pop them in the oven until they are a nice dark golden color.

They really don't need to be shelled.  They are super crunchy and lots of natural fiber.  I don't store them in a airtight container, because I don't want them to lose their crunch.  But that may depend on your location.

Happy Halloween!

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