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Simple Cooking – Savory Pumpkin Seeds

By Anthony Todd in Food on Oct 29, 2008 3:15PM

Pumpkins.jpgAfter all the carving is complete and your floors are covered in pumpkin guts, the temptation is to pick up ALL of that newspaper (or garbage bags or tarps) and toss it all in the trash. But wait! You have, within your grasp, a tasty, nutritious snack! And best of all? You’ve already paid for it.

Pumpkin seeds are one of our favorite parts of Halloween. You can flavor them with almost any spice or herb in your cupboards, serve them at parties, take them to work as a snack, or just munch on them straight out of the oven. They’re easy to make, and though it takes a few steps, it is nearly impossible to mess up.

Savory Pumpkin Seeds

First, separate the seeds from the pulp. Yes, yes, easier said than done; here’s how to do it. Pull the seeds off of the guts and put them in a bowl filled with warm water. Try to get as much of the pulp out as possible, but don’t worry too much. Once you have a bowl of (mostly) pumpkin seeds, swirl vigorously in the water.

Then (preferably next to your sink), pick the seeds out of the bowl of water and put them in a clean bowl. The remaining pumpkin goop will either sink to the bottom or stick to your hands, allowing you to put the clean seeds into the clean bowl! Don’t worry if they’re not perfect.

Once you have a clean bowl of seeds, add water to cover and a generous helping of salt. Cover tightly and soak for 24 hours – this will enhance the flavor of the seeds. After 24 hours, lay the seeds out to dry on a cookie sheet. They don’t have to dry completely, but they can sit for as long as you want. Make it work around your schedule.

Preheat your oven to 300°F. Toss the pumpkin seeds with olive oil (2 tbsp will usually do it) and whatever spices suit your fancy. Try garlic, onion salt, paprika and cayenne pepper for a kick. Lay the seeds out on a cookie sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes. Give it a stir every 10 minutes or so. Take them out when they begin to brown, let them cool and put them in an airtight container.

Photo of carved pumpkins by Anthony Todd