Since I believe in the old adage, “waste not, want not,” I feel compelled to use up as much of the pumpkin from our Jack-o-lanterns as possible. Therefore, it’s tradition in our family to toast the seeds that would otherwise get chucked out with the rest of the sloppy innards. And oh, what a tasty tradition it is!
Now, I’m not going to lie. This is a fairly labor intensive process. But, in carving the Jack-o-lantern you get a lot of the work out of the way. So, take the stringy, seed-filled mess from your carvings and plop it into a large bowl.
Next comes the sorting stage. You’ve got to really get in there and squish it around to detach the seeds from the fibers. This is long and tedious and kinda makes your shoulder cramp up if you are working at it alone. And once you’ve separated most of them you’ve got to pick the seeds out of the goo and throw them into a colander or strainer. Are you still reading? Good!
Rinse the seeds thoroughly in cold water, making sure to remove any pumpkin bits that may have passed your first inspection and sneaked into the colander. Alright, on to the easy part. Spread out the seeds on a baking sheet and let them air dry over night. (Note: You could put them in the oven wet, but they wouldn’t come out as crunchy because of steam.) Once dry, use the following recipe:
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
2-4 cups raw, rinsed, and dried pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp. salt, or more to taste
dash of cayenne pepper, or more to taste (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Place seeds on a parchment- or aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, lightly coated with oil or cooking spray.
3. Sprinkle salt and cayenne pepper according to taste. Toss lightly.
4. Place in oven on middle rack for about 30 minutes. Take out and toss again. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Such a fantastic snack! Hopefully, some of you have yet to carve your pumpkins and can still find this recipe useful. If not, there’s always next year!
P.S. If you’re totally lazy and don’t mind the strong pumpkin taste, you can completely skip the rinsing step and just bake the seeds coated in their pumpkin goo!