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10/20/2010

~ How to: Clean and Roast Pumpkin Seeds ~

IMG_7510Once a year, when I am making and freezing roasted pumpkin puree from the sugar pumpkins Joe grows in our garden, I can't wait to finish up with the puree and roast the seeds.  Even if you are not making your own ~ Roasted Pumpkin Puree ~, recipe found in Categories 15 & 18, and are just carving a big Jack-o'-lantern pumpkin for Halloween, please, please, please, keep the seeds!  Homemade roasted pumpkin seeds are indeed a treat  and taste nothing at all like those hard, salt-encrusted white "things" they sell in stores.  I am a purist about them and like them tossed with a little oil and simple sea salt, but don't be afraid to be creative and add  some sweet or savory spices to invent your own favorite mix! 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds #2 (Removing the Goop) ~ Step 1.  Firstly, if you are a woman with nice fingernails, this is the part of the recipe you want to pass along to family members, like your children or grandchildren (in my case my husband Joe), who will actually "get into" removing the seeds from the goop!

This task is not hard.  In this picture Joe is removing/pulling the seeds from the mushy centers of 2, 4-pound sugar pumpkins.  He was done in about 5 minutes.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds #3 (Drying) ~ Step 2.  Thoroughly rinse, then drain the seeds in a colander.  Line a baking pan with 3-4 layers of paper towels.  The size of the pan you'll need to use will depend upon how many seeds you have.  You want the seeds to fit comfortably, in as thin a layer as possible.

I set my seeds aside to dry while I am making my pumpkin puree, which takes about 2 hours, during which time they dry nicely.  If you want them to dry quicker, a hair dryer works quite well!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds #4 (Dry) ~ Step 3.  You'll know your seeds are thoroughly dry because you will be able to mound them or push them around  easily without any of them sticking together or clumping.  While this sounds like overkill, getting your seeds thoroughly dry is an important step in the process.

Remove the paper towels, along with the seeds, from the baking pan.

 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds #5 (Ready for Oven) ~ Step 4.  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, that way there is no mess to clean up at the end!  Place 2 tablespoons of corn oil in the bottom of the pan and add the pumpkin seeds.   Using a spoon, stir (careful, don't tear the foil) until they are thoroughly coated.  Sprinkle with 1 generous tablespoon of sea salt and stir again.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds #6 (Out of Oven)~ Step 5.  Roast on center rack of preheated 325-350 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes.  During the roasting process, open the oven door every 8-10 minutes to briefly stir with a spoon.  Remove from oven.  The seeds are ready to eat, but they are MUCH better if you let them cool completely in the pan, about 1 hour, prior to eating!

IMG_7509

 

How to:  Clean and Roast Pumpkin Seeds:  From 2, 4-pound sugar pumpkins, you'll get 1 1/2-2 cups of roasted pumpkin seeds.

Special Equipment List:  colander; baking pan (sized according to the amount of pumpkin seeds you have); paper towels; aluminum foil

Cook's Note:  Once a year when I make my pumpkin puree, I make one large batch of pumpkin seeds, sometimes as many as 10-12 cups, which means I have to store them.  Once completely cooled, they can be stored in an air-tight container.  That being said, I often put them in a pretty bowl on my kitchen counter and let them sit out for 2-3 days for "passers-by" to munch on at will!

Extra Cook's Note:  This recipe works just as well with acorn or butternut squash seeds!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2010)

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