Don't Let Those Halloween Pumpkins Rot - Make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Instead

If any of you are like me, you probably have at least one pumpkin sitting on your porch right now. I actually have six! I love pumpkins. Finding the perfect pumpkin each year is one of my favorite things to do. This year it was especially fun because my husband grew our pumpkins organically here on the farm.

What Size Pumpkin is Best for Roasting Seeds?

Normally, I would have said use large pumpkins for larger seeds. But this year I started using the smaller pumpkins, too. They make a wonderful treat, also. Their shells are not as fibrous and you can just eat the whole seed. I tend to eat the whole seed, no matter what size I roast.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

So really, don't let those beautiful pumpkins go to waste. Instead, carve them out and roast up some pumpkin seeds. It's actually incredibly easy to do and they make a great gluten-free snack.  

I try to wait until the last possible minute so I can enjoy the pumpkins. Unfortunately, this big guy didn't make it. As you can see, some of the seeds have already started to rot. The seeds should be a very light tan color and these had started to rot and turn gray.

  
Pumpkin whose seeds have rotted.

How to Remove Seeds From a Pumpkin

To begin, cut the top off your pumpkin. I make a cut in the upper third of the pumpkin. Making the opening large enough that I can easily get my hands in there. Then begin pulling the seeds out, trying to take just the seeds and not the stringy flesh. It's a little tricky because the seeds are so slippery. Just aim to take the least amount of flesh. With the smaller pumpkins this is a little more difficult, but it's okay to take some of the pumpkin along with the seed.

Place the seeds in a bowl of water and run your fingers through them a few time and remove any remaining strings you may find. 

Soaking Pumpkin Seeds

Some recipes suggest boiling the seeds for a few minutes at this point before roasting. I haven't found that this extra step added anything significant to the taste of the seeds. But you may choose to soak your seeds before roasting. Sometimes, pumpkin seeds that haven't been soaked can irritate your stomach.

Soaking in salt water deactivates enzyme inhibitors in the seeds that could possibly irritate your stomach. To soak the seeds, place in a large bowl and cover with water and a tablespoon of salt for every 2 cups of seeds. Soak the seeds for 8 or more hours.

After washing or soaking, drain the seeds in a colander. Then gently dry with a paper towel or kitchen towel to remove excess water.
Pumpkin seeds that have been rinsed and are draining in a colander.

Add a Little Oil and a Little Salt

Place the seeds in a the bowl and add 2 teaspoons of extra light olive oil along with 1/2 - 1 teaspoon sea salt. (Base the amount of oil and salt on the size of your pumpkin. For the larger pumpkin, I used the full amount of oil and salt.) Mix well.

Place the seeds in a single layer on a large parchment lined baking sheet.
 

Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until slightly toasted and crisp. Bake the smaller, thinner pumpkin seeds for only 30 - 35 minutes.
Freshly roasted pumpkin seeds.

The hardest part for me was saving any seeds for anyone else to eat, especially with the little pumpkins. The seeds are so light, you eat them by the handfuls.

Hope you and your families enjoy them, too!

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