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Yummy Pumpkin Seeds

What do you do with the seeds from 5 pumpkins? Let’s find out…
Pumpkin Seeds

After hosting our Company Pumpkin Carving Night, I had 5 pumpkins’ worth of seeds.  Last year, I’d heard people talk about cooking and eating the seeds, so I figured I’d give it a whirl.

To dry or not to dry?

Everyone says you have to leave the seeds out overnight to dry them, but none of the recipes I found backed that up, so no, it is NOT necessary.  The first batch I did, I took them straight from the strainer to the pan, and those created a lot of steam in the oven, so I towel dried them after that.

 

Why boil them first?

Someone told me the great secret with pumpkin seeds is to boil them in salt water before baking them.  That way, the salt gets inside the shell.  Well, it works with pasta, so I figured it would work the same way with pumpkin seeds, and it did.

The recipes were all quite specific (and varied) on how much salt and water you should use.  And it did make a big difference to the saltiness of the seeds.  The first recipe said to boil in a saucepan for 10 minutes:  2 cups Water, 1 tbsp Salt, 1/2 cup seeds.  This was very salty!  After draining the water, I tasted one of the seeds and it tasted like seawater!  I rinsed them to eliminate the salt on the outside of the shell, and that helped.

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How to boil your pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin Seed Boil

6 Cups Water

1 to 2 Tablespoon Salt   (1 tbsp for light salt flavor, 2 tbsp for saltier pumpkin seeds)

1 Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds   (anywhere from 1 to 2 cups will be fine)

–  Clean the seeds in a colander, pull away the stringy pulp and rinse with water.

–  Combine all ingredients in a pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer until seeds turn dark, about 10 minutes.  Check the image above to see the seeds before and after boiling.  Strain seeds in a colander and shake to drain excess water.

–  Lightly pat the seeds with a towel to dry them, and/or spread them out and let them air dry for about 10 minutes.

Now, you are ready to bake them.

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Easy Bake Pumpkin Seeds

Pan 1– Preheat oven to 325° F.

– Lightly oil a baking sheet with olive oil.

– Spread pumpkin seeds out on the baking sheet in a single layer (see image above).

– Sprinkle with spices or seasoning mix of your choice.

I did a light dusting of garlic and it turned out awesome!  Cayenne pepper is good if you like spice.  Cajun seasoning, Jamaican jerk, barbecue seasoning… there are so many ways to spice up pumpkin seeds.  They have a mild, neutral flavor, similar to popcorn, so you really can’t go wrong.

– Bake in preheated oven until the pumpkin seeds are crunchy and golden brown, about 40 minutes.  Stir and flip seeds every 10 minutes.

Pan 2Yes, you can bake your seeds at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time, but they are more likely to burn.  I tried several recipes.  My white pumpkin seeds burned, although that might be because they were smaller or just more prone to burning.  Of everything I tried, cooking at 325° F for 40 minutes made the crispiest seeds without burning.

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Now, for a couple of recipes that are just a bit different.

Cinnamon Toast Pumpkin Seeds

Cinnamon Toast

1 Cup Pumpkin Seeds preboiled in lightly salted water  (see above)

1 Tablespoon Butter, Melted

1 Tablespoon White Sugar

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

A sprinkle of Ground Ginger (optional)

– Preheat oven to 325° F.

– Mix together butter, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and ginger in a bowl.

– Combine pumpkin seeds with the mixture.

– Spread pumpkin seeds out on the baking sheet in a single layer (see image above).

– Bake in preheated oven until the pumpkin seeds are crunchy and golden brown, about 40 minutes.  Stir and flip seeds every 10 minutes.

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Bacon Bourbon Spice Pumpkin Seeds

Bacon Bourbon Pumpkin Seeds

1 Cup Pumpkin Seeds preboiled in lightly salted water  (see above)

1 Tablespoon Bacon Drippings

1 Tablespoon Bourbon

1 Teaspoon Sugar

A sprinkle of Cayenne Pepper (optional)

1 strip of Bacon in bits (optional)

– Preheat oven to 275° F.

– Mix together bacon drippings, bourbon, sugar and cayenne in a bowl.

– Combine pumpkin seeds with the mixture.

– Spread pumpkin seeds out on the baking sheet in a single layer.

– Bake in preheated oven until the pumpkin seeds are crunchy and golden brown, about 60-75 minutes.  Stir and flip seeds every 15 minutes.

– Add bacon bits to mixture on baking sheet, stir together to mix flavors, and serve.

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