by Sam Doll
There are so many reasons to enjoy the month of October, but one of the truly special traditions is carving spooky jack-o-lanterns for Halloween! While making funny faces and creative carvings can be a blast, I get most excited for turning the slimy guts of the pumpkins into crispy, salty, roasted pumpkin seeds.
Pick the Right Pumpkin
Pumpkin seeds are a delicious, healthy seasonal snack that can be as creatively flavored any way you want! The first thing you need to do is pick a pumpkin!
Wandering through a pumpkin patch, it might seem impossible to know which pumpkin would be good for carving and roasting seeds. Lucky for you, the easy part is figuring out which ones are chock full of seeds. Just pick it up! The heavier the pumpkin, the more likely it is to be full of seeds.
If you need help picking out a perfect pumpkin for carving, check out this guide.
Harvest the Seeds
This is the fun part! Once you cut the top of your jack-o-lantern off, it’s time to get your hands dirty.
Set up two bowls. Scoop out as much of the guts and seeds as you can with your hands. Separate as many of the seeds from the pulp as you can and put them in one bowl. It’s okay if they are still slimy and still have a little pulp on them, you’ll clean that off later.
As you get near the end, use a large metal spoon to scrape down the inside walls of the pumpkin to clean out any remaining strands and straggling seeds. Wash up and finish carving your pumpkins!
Prepare the Seeds
Place the seeds in a colander and rinse the seeds under cold, running water. Use your hands to remove any pulp still attached. Once clean, remove them and set aside
Boil the Seeds
Depending on how many seeds you have, fill a sauce pan or pot with water and salt it until it tastes like the sea. Bring to a boil and add the cleaned seeds.
Boil for 5-8 minutes until the seeds begin to look translucent. Remove the seeds to a baking sheet and pat them dry.
The boiling gives the seeds a pleasant salty flavor throughout and ensures that they cook evenly and without burning in the oven.
Pre-heat the oven to 400-425 (this isn’t an exact science) and add the seeds. Roast until golden, crispy and delicious (about 10-15 minutes).
Remove them from the oven and add them immediately to a clean mixing bowl for seasoning.
This is the fun part. No matter what seasoning you go with, you’ll probably want to use 1 tbsp of high-quality olive oil and some course kosher salt as a base. The oil helps the seasoning stick to the seeds and the salt helps elevate the other flavors.
Now, you can keep them simple and enjoy these classic fall snacks! If you are feeling a little wild, here are some other delicious flavoring suggestions.
The amount of seasoning will depend on how many seeds and what size you have, so start with a little and keep adding until it is just perfect
- Sugar and Cinnamon: I like a mixture of 4 to 1 white sugar to cinnamon (here is more information if you are curious). If you want it a little hotter, add more cinnamon to the mixture
- Curry: Any pre-made curry powder will work here, but you can make your own if you are feeling ambitious. I like this Thai Curry Powder
- South of the Border: Use a 1:1 cumin to red chili flake mix. If you like it really spicy, add some cayenne powder.
- Spicy and Savory: Use a 2:2:1 garlic salt (omit the kosher salt above if using this or just use garlic powder), lemon pepper, and cayenne to create a savory and hot mix.