Fall always means pumpkins. Whether they are being roasted, pureed, stewed, steamed or just cut up for decorations there is always one left over part that seems to much of a hassel to use.
Sure they are surrounded in a sticky mess of membranes that cling to anything they touch but with a couple simple tricks they can be turned into a great snack. The first thing to do is knock as many seeds from the membranes before scraping them from the pumpkin. If you just scoop all the stuff out into a pile it takes forever to separate the seeds from the gunk. Not to mention the inside of the pumpkin is very good at holding on to the membranes while letting the seed clusters break free. Carefully scrape out the seeds as they loosen into a bowl of water. Eventually you will need to scoop out everything else. Using a metal spoon scrape against the walls of the gourd downward. If more seeds appear try to separate them as well into the water with as little membrane attached as possible. Once the entire pumpkin is scraped scoop out the gunk and discard it. This is the second trick, let the few seeds go that are stuck inside all the mess. Lightly oil a baking sheet with olive oil. Using your hand scoop out a handful of seeds from the water bowl and spread you finger slightly to allow most of the excess water to drain away. While you do this pick out any large chunks of membrane and any seeds that have shoots coming out of them and discard it. Place the mostly cleaned seeds on the tray and continue scooping. Do not worry if there is a little water left in your hand when transferring to the tray. Continue until all the seeds are out of the bowl. Place a kitchen towel over the seeds and soak up most of the leftover water on the tray. When you lift it off scrape any seeds that stuck back into the pan. Now your ready to toast them.
Below is my recipe but any spice combo can work that appeals to you. I like to drizzle a little cider vinegar over as well, but the sky is the limit on what could be used to flavor the seeds. Seeds from large squashes other than pumpkin work just as well for this snack.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Seeds from a cleaned pumpkin
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
- 2 pinches cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp cinnamon sugar
- 3 pinches nutmeg
- Cider Vinegar
On a large baking tray coat seeds in oil. Add spices and drizzle vinegar over. Mix well. Place in an oven at 360 degrees and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Stir the mixture every 10 minutes or so until done to keep the seeds from sticking to the pan or burning. Remove from oven and taste. Add more seasoning while hot if needed. Store in an airtight container. Seeds will keep for two weeks.