“It smells like childhood!” one of my friend’s roommates said, walking into the kitchen.
Between the sweet, heavy-vegetable smell of raw pumpkin and the toasting smell of pumpkin seeds, the kitchen did have some of the best scents of autumn. Personally, I think this is the most wonderful time of year: dressing up in costumes, enjoying the changing leaves, and pumpkin carving.
Carving jack-o-lanterns is half the fun— the rest is toasting and eating the seeds. Carving pumpkins and snacking on the seeds is a cherished childhood memory of mine. Trouble is, as an adult, I’ve discovered that toasting pumpkin seeds is, well, a bit messy and time-consuming. But worth it? Oh, heck yes.
Pumpkin seeds are easy to make; the time consuming part is getting them clean. There’s a few things I did that helped this process. Some recipes say to pay the seeds dry with a paper towel, but I found that the seeds stuck to the towel.
To clean the seeds:
- After you’ve scooped out your pumpkin innards and your hands are still goopy, separate the seeds from the stringy pumpkin insides. Put the semi-clean seeds into a colander.
- Rinse the seeds under water in the colander. The water will pull of a lot of the little bits, and the colander will help drain the rest of the pumpkin insides away.
To roast the seeds:
- You can either boil the seeds in salt water for ten minutes, or soak them in salt water for two hours. This makes the shell a lot crunchier— and also, a lot more salty. (I used about a tbsp of salt to soak them.)
- Preheat your oven to 350.
- While the oven is pre-heating, decide what kind of seasonings you want to use. The first batch had cinnamon and sugar; the second batch had sea salt and mustard powder. Do you want garlicy seeds, or spicy ones? Let your taste buds be your guide.
- Mix your seeds with your spices in a bowl, making sure the spices are even. I would use about a tsp of spices.
- Spread the seeds in an even layer on a cookie sheet.
- Roast the seeds for about 10 minutes; then take them out, swish the seeds around, try to flip them over, and put the tray back in.
- I would leave for about 5 to 7 minutes— and check the seeds at the 5 minute mark, to make sure you’re not burning them. The insides cook quickly.
Try not to eat them all in one sitting. Happy Halloween!