How To Roast Your Own Pumpkin Seeds

A lot of people buy pumpkin seeds at the store. That’s great, you do that. Did you know that it is really easy to roast your own pumpkin seeds at home? The same seeds that you are cleaning out of the pumpkin you’re preparing to carve for Halloween or even to make pies for Thanksgiving, are the same ones you buy at the grocery store or gas station.

Too hard? It’s relatively easy, actually. It only takes about 40 minutes of your time, and most of that is time the seeds will spend in the oven. The recipe calls for simple items that you, more than likely, already have in your cupboards. Olive oil? Butter? Sea salt? Cinnamon? Garlic salt?

It depends on what you’re in the mood for.

First and foremost, you will need a pumpkin.

Perfect stem!
Perfect stem!

**Before you get started, pre-heat your oven to 275 degrees.**

Above is the pumpkin that I selected to create my jack-o-lantern this year. It’s fairly good sized and has the stem that I like. It’s a pet peeve of mine when the stem falls off my pumpkin. I try to find one that looks like it will make it through the ride back to my house and will survive being carved.

On that note, I start my carving project from the bottom.  If you do that, then you don’t have to worry about the top sinking into your jack-o-lantern. That’s annoying.  If you carve from the bottom, then you can set your light or candle on the piece you carve and then set the pumpkin down on top of that.

Start out by sitting in a chair with the pumpkin upside down in your lap, with the stem between your legs.   You’ll want to be armed with a knife and a spoon. Obviously, you’ll need the knife to cut the pumpkin. You’ll need the spoon to help remove the piece that you cut by prying it out and also to clean out the side.

Remove the piece that you cut. You’ll probably need an edge of some sort to pry it out of the pumpkin.

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Cut the piece to make a base for your light source.

Usually, there will be seeds attached to the “pumpkin guts” hanging from the piece you remove.  Since you’ll want this piece as a base to place your light or candle, you’ll want to cut the guts from the piece so it’s flat.

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Next, you’ll simply gather the seeds and put them into a bowl. I used a small colander. I typically don’t rinse the seeds off or allow them to dry. I do pick as much of the guts off of the seeds and season them as they are.

Pumpkin guts
Pumpkin guts
 

Next, you’ll need a baking sheet and whatever you decide to use to coat your sheet. I prefer to use olive oil.  You can buy flavored olive oil at the grocery store.

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You can find various flavors at Wal Mart
 

You can also use a cooking spray, butter or margarine.

Then you’ll have to decide what flavor you want to season the seeds. I personally prefer either a simple Sea Salt flavor or, if I have a hankering for something sweet, cinnamon is also really tasty. You can sprinkle cinnamon on the seeds or you can also use a garlic flavored Sea Salt.  Both options will roast nicely.

Variety of sea salt available at Wal Mart
Variety of sea salt available at Wal Mart
 

You may have to look in the baking section to locate the cinnamon. It depends on how your store is set up.

You will want to lightly coat the baking sheet that you are using. If you’re using olive oil, use it sparingly. I used a brush to coat the pan with the oil.  Then I added seeds to the baking sheet. After spreading out the seeds all over the baking sheet, I sprinkled the seeds with Sea Salt.  It depends on your own personal preference as to how much salt you want to use.

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Spread the seeds on the baking sheet

Place the baking sheet into the oven ( that you were supposed to pre-heat at 275 ) and let them bake for approximately 20 minutes.  At this point, check the seeds every 5-10 minutes, this will depend on your oven, to see how they are progressing.  I don’t like my seeds to be charred, I prefer them to be light brown in color, the way that they appear in the photo below. They should be done after approximately 40 minutes.

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Done!

I let my seeds sit on the baking sheet to cool. When I am ready to store them, I use an airtight container ( usually a glass Pyrex bowl with a lid ) or a paper bag. I do not recommend using plastic bags because the seeds will mold and rot at a quicker rate than they would in a paper bag or container.

Roasted pumpkin seeds are a fairly healthy snack! I like that I can utilize the whole pumpkin when we make our jack-o-lanterns and luminaries for the porch.

What about you? Do you have a favorite fall treat?

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