Happy Halloween! Retrogrouch and I carved our jack-o-lantern last night, and got our scaaaaary on. I am bedecking our porch with body parts, and he’s been nailed through the head. Luckily, the injury wasn’t bad enough to stop him from the carving.
For me, the best part of pumpkin carving has always been roasting the pumpkin seeds. Each year, I carefully separate out the seeds from the goo, rinse them and dry them, salt them, and put them in a 350 degree oven. Each year, I also forget about them and have to throw half of them away when they get too dark.
Last year, when working on the Master Food Preserver hotline, someone called in and asked how to make pumpkin seeds. I started to give my standard schpiel, then realized that I could (and should) look up a recipe in our giant binder of recipes and techniques that are tested by our Extension program and others across the country. And lo! The Good Book shewed that she was in great error. I was roasting the seeds at way too high of a temperature, hence the bitter charring when I forgot about them.
This year, I looked at the seeds with their pretty orange lacing of goo, and thought that I might capitalize on the extra flavor of the pumpkin pulp on the seeds, so I didn’t rinse them. I tossed them in some oil with coarse sea salt and black pepper, then roasted the speckled, striped seeds. And lo! Dirty Pumpkin Seeds were born. And they were delicious. Even after I forgot about them.
Dirty Pumpkin Seeds
This recipe doesn’t measure the amounts, since the amount of seeds one gets from a pumpkin can vary widely. The larger jack-o-lanterns can actually have fewer seeds than the smaller ones.
- Seeds from one jack-o-lantern
- Coarsely ground sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Carefully pick through the pumpkin innards to get all the seeds. Discard malformed seeds and as much of the orange goo surrounding the seeds as possible, placing seeds in a clean bowl.
Do not rinse the remaining pumpkin goo off the seeds. Add coarsely ground sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, then coat the seeds in enough vegetable oil to make them slick but not dripping with oil (I used about a tablespoon).
Spread seeds out in a single layer in a Pyrex dish or cookie sheet.
Roast for about 45 minutes, checking occasionally, until light gold in color and completely dry. If you forget about them, they’re ok for about an hour. You’ll smell a gentle roasting smell, not the charring of burnt seeds, as a reminder.
They tell me the seeds will keep for about a week unrefrigerated, but mine have never lasted more than a day or two.