Here’s the dilemma du jour. Do you have to soak pumpkin seeds before roasting them? I have toasted them straight from the pumpkin with resulting tough, chewy seeds. Daughter Shelley, culinary queen in her own right, has either soaked them overnight or boiled them in salt water, both yielding excellent results. Friday night she was too daggone tired from carving pumpkins to bother with soaking. She took a risk, eliminated the pre-soak, and the next morning I could not resist eating her pumpkin seeds for breakfast. Delicately crisp and addictively salty, they actually went well with my morning coffee–not that I’m planning on doing that very often. (A pumpkin muffin would be more to my liking!)
So here’s a question. An interactive show-me-you-care survey.
Since this is jack-o-lantern week and dear readers will have a plethora of pumpkin seeds on and in their hands, here is how Shelley creates pumpkin seed magic at our house:
1. Cut off the top of the pumpkin.
2. Get a kid to scoop out the insides. Boys are preferred because they don’t mind getting their hands all goopy.
3. (This is optional from the seed standpoint, but since the seeds are really the optional part, do this.) Get the kid to draw a jack-o-lantern template and then you, the grown-up, carve it into the face of the pumpkin. If the kid has recently had visits from the tooth fairy, the jack-o-lantern should resemble the kid.
4. Ok…the seeds. Rinse them in a colander, picking off the goopy pumpkin innards.
5. Put the seeds on a paper towel. Blot the seeds with more paper towels to absorb the water.
6. Move the seeds to a cookie sheet coated in olive oil. Sprinkle with more olive oil and sea salt. You can add other seasonings if you like–Old Bay, chili powder, curry powder, etc.
7. Roast in the oven at 375 degrees, stirring occasionally until the seeds are golden and crunchy, about 10 minutes.
8. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with more seasoning. Cool.
9. Store in an air-tight container.
Just for the record, there will not be any handmade pumpkin parchment place cards at our Thanksgiving. But if you are planning on doing so, you can skip the Old Bay seasoning when you roast your seeds.