Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are one of the many boons of pumpkins. Not only can you eat and carve your pumpkin, roasting its seeds makes for one of the best munching snacks. If you’re an avid pumpkin carver, there are probably loads of pumpkin seeds that you can roast each Halloween.
Pumpkin seeds not only make for a tasty snack when roasted, you can also candy them or add them to homemade granola bars. They can give your pesto or sauce a different flavor. Roasted pumpkin seeds can also be used as a topping or garnish in soups, stews, salads and muffins.
When properly roasted, you can enjoy most pumpkin seeds along with their shells, which make the seeds quite crunchy. But if the seeds are from large pumpkins of the carving variety, the shells may be harder and you are better off removing the shells.
While it’s basically as simple as cleaning the seeds and popping them into the oven, with some nifty tricks, you can turn those about-to-be-discarded pumpkin seeds into a tasty and filling snack. But first, here’s a little help for the novices to extract the seeds from the pumpkin.
- Steps to extract seeds from a pumpkin
- Method 1: Roast Seasoned Pumpkin Seeds in an Oven
- Method 2: Pan-Fry Classic Salted Pumpkin Seeds
Steps to extract seeds from a pumpkin
Depending on the type of the pumpkin you have, the ways to extract its seeds may differ, but ensure that the seeds are properly cleaned before you use them in any recipe.
Usually, all you need to do is to cut the pumpkin and remove its guts which contain the seeds, after which you can separate the pulp from the seeds before cleaning them. Here's how to shell pumpkin seeds.
Step 1. Halve the pumpkin
- Cut the pumpkin in half.
Step 2. Remove the guts
- Using a knife, remove as much of the guts from the sides of the pumpkin as you can easily.
Step 3. Quarter the halved pumpkin to remove remaining guts
- Quarter the pumpkin in order to remove the remaining guts.
Step 4. Extract the seeds
- Remove the seeds from the pumpkin guts.
- Pick out any large bits of flesh and strings that may be stuck to the seeds.
- If the insides of your pumpkin are a pulpy and stringy mess, you should place the whole mass that includes the pumpkin seeds straight into a bowl of water to clean them.
Once you’ve got the pumpkin seeds, use either of the following two methods to roast tasty, crispy and crunchy pumpkin seeds.
Method 1: Roast Seasoned Pumpkin Seeds in an Oven
Traditionally, pumpkin seeds are roasted in an oven. You can just simply pop them in the oven to roast them to a crunch, but with a little extra effort you can make a snack that’ll leave your taste buds tingling.
Brining the seeds before roasting allows the seeds to be salted completely through. Brining also makes them easy to digest and increases their shelf life. Use different seasonings according to your taste for a little personalized touch.
While you prepare the pumpkin seeds to be roasted, you should set your oven to preheat at 300° F or 150° C.
Things you’ll need:
- Pumpkin seeds – ½ cup
- Salt – 1 teaspoon
- Worcestershire sauce – 1 tablespoon
- Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
- Cayenne pepper powder – ½ teaspoon
- Ginger powder – 2 teaspoons
- Paper towels
Step 1. Brine pumpkin seeds
- Place a pan over heat and pour 2 cups of water into it.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water.
- As the salt dissolves, add ½ cup of pumpkin seeds to the water.
- Bring the water to a boil, then allow the seeds to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Step 2. Strain and dry the seeds
- Strain the seeds through a fine mesh colander.
- When the seeds are sufficiently drained, spread them out in a single layer over a paper towel.
- Cover the seeds with another sheet of paper towel.
- Continue soaking up the moisture with the paper towels until the seeds are sufficiently dry.
Step 3. Mix oil, spices and sauce together
- Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl.
- Add 2 teaspoons of ginger powder and ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder to it.
- Stir to mix the spices thoroughly with the olive oil.
- Next, add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and mix well.
Step 4. Coat the seeds with the mixture
- Add the brined pumpkin seeds to the mixture.
- Stir the seeds into the mixture to evenly coat them with the seasoning.
Step 5. Put the seasoned seeds in a baking tray
- Line a baking tray with aluminum foil.
- Spread the seeds over the foil in a single layer with a wooden spoon or a spatula. The seeds may overlap, but they shouldn’t be heaped in clumps.
Step 6. Bake the seeds
- Place the baking tray into the oven, preheated at 300° F or 150° C.
- Bake the seeds for 20 to 25 minutes. If there are uneven spots in your oven, stir the seeds every 10 minutes to prevent burning them.
- Remove the seeds from the oven when they’re done.
Enjoy the lip-smacking roasted pumpkin seeds. Store the seeds in an airtight jar and enjoy this salty, spicy snack at your leisure.
Method 2: Pan-Fry Classic Salted Pumpkin Seeds
Other than the traditional method of roasting the pumpkin seeds in the oven, you also have the option of pan-frying the seeds. You’ll want to thoroughly clean the sliminess of the pumpkin guts from the seeds before frying them. You can experiment with seasonings, but simply salted pumpkin seeds are a classic delight.
Things you’ll need:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
Step 1. Clean and dry pumpkin seeds
- Fill a bowl with water and add the pumpkin seeds to it.
- Clean the seeds in the water, separating the pulp from the seeds.
- Rinse and repeat until the seeds are clean and free of any pulp.
- Dry the seeds over a soft towel.
Step 2. Oil a skillet and add butter
- Place a skillet over medium-low heat and brush it with olive oil. This will prevent your butter from burning.
- Add butter to the pan and allow it to melt.
Step 3. Pan-fry pumpkin seeds
- When your butter has melted, add the pumpkin seeds to the pan.
- Stirring continuously, fry the seeds until they start to brown a little. This may take about 10 minutes.
Step 4. Season the seeds with salt
- When your seeds are about done, sprinkle a little sea salt over them.
- Stir the seeds to salt them evenly.
Enjoy these plain salted pumpkin seeds as a healthy snack. You can also use them as a substitute for croutons the next time you make pumpkin soup.
- The seeds of other winter squashes can also be roasted similarly.
- Take care not to burn the seeds. Even a single burned seed can give the whole batch a burnt flavor.
- Always let the seeds cool down before storing them.
- Always store roasted pumpkin seeds in an airtight jar. When stored properly, the seeds will maintain their crunch for up to 3 days.
- You can also make your pumpkin seeds sweet instead of salty. Let the roasted seeds cool down, then toss with a little brown sugar or maple syrup to lightly coat them. Roast the seeds again to finish.
- Sweetened pumpkin seeds can also be seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin.