For many Americans, there's one type of food associated with October and Halloween: candy, of course! But for others, Halloween just wouldn't be Halloween without pumpkin carving and roasted pumpkin seeds. If you're lucky, you may still associate the nutty fragrance of roasted pumpkin seeds wafting from the oven with the excitement of carving your jack-o-lantern masterpiece. Perhaps one of your parents or another adult family member even taught you how to roast raw pumpkins seeds, allowing you to carry on the tradition with your own children.
Igniting your own pumpkin-carving and pumpkin seed roasting traditions is easy. You probably already have everything you need in your kitchen right now! Just pick up some pumpkins, get your family and friends together, and start the party! Carving pumpkins and learning how to roast raw pumpkin seeds isn't just for children. Roasting raw pumpkin seeds is a healthy and fun activity is for all ages.
What’s So Great about Roasting Raw Pumpkin Seeds?
Learning how to roast raw pumpkin seeds is fun, healthy, and tasty! It's a great way to bring the family together, get some use out of the guts of your carvings pumpkins, and add some excellent minerals and micronutrients to your diet at the same time.
A Fun Learning Activity for Kids
When you help the children in your family (and their friends) learn how to roast raw pumpkin seeds, you help them make memories, have fun, and learn about science, plants, and healthy eating. If your child is a picky eater, then helping them become involved in the food preparation process can make new and unfamiliar foods more appealing.
While some kids might shout "ewww!" when touching "pumpkin guts," others will delight in the tactile experience of sorting and rinsing seeds from the fibrous pumpkin flesh. If a child is uncomfortable touching the "guts," you can put them in charge of another part of the seed roasting process, such as seasoning.
A Unique Party Theme for Grown-ups
Even if you don't have children in your family, consider hosting a pumpkin-themed party for coworkers, friends, and neighbors of all ages! Carving jack-o'-lanterns sends many of us back to our childhoods. Pick up a few bottles of red wine or the ubiquitous Oktoberfest and "pumpkin" flavored beer that appears in grocery stores every fall. Offer autumn-themed foods like cranberry-kale salad, roasted turkey sandwiches, and, of course, pumpkin pie! Cutting up the pumpkins and roasting the seeds will create a memorable party that people of all ages are bound to enjoy.
A Healthy, Tasty Treat
Whether you're interested in learning how to roast raw pumpkin seeds with your kids, your friends, or on your own, the result is bound to delight you. Many people have made the mistake of throwing away these delicious seeds while carving Halloween pumpkins. However, when roasted these seeds come close to being one of the Earth's perfect snacks!
When you master how to roast raw pumpkin seeds, you'll find yourself with an inexpensive supply of one of the world's best snacks. Gluten-free; vegan (if prepared with oil instead of butter); and packed with zinc, iron, fiber, and protein, these seeds offer a multi-vitamin kick to your snack time. Best of all, the crunchy texture and nutty flavor are irresistible.
How to Roast Raw Pumpkin Seeds: The Basics
When you get down to it, the steps for how to roast raw pumpkin seeds are simple. The key ingredients and supplies you need include:
- Carving pumpkins or sugar pie pumpkins
- Carving knife
- Spatula or wooden spoon
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper or aluminum foil
- Paper towels
Step 1: Remove the "Guts"
Cutting into the pumpkin and removing its innards can be the best or worst part of roasting pumpkin seeds, depending on your preference for handling stringy, squishy stuff.
To get started, spread newspaper over a table for easy clean-up. Carve a hole in the pumpkin's top large enough for you to get your hand inside. Then reach in and pull out the stringy orange innards in handfuls. Slap those guts down on the table and start feeling through them for the precious seeds!
As you collect the seeds, drop them into the colander or strainer. While some strings are likely to attach to the seeds and will be rinsed away before roasting, you'll want to remove as much pumpkin guts as possible.
When you've sorted through all the fibrous material and collected each seed, it's time for the seeds to be rinsed and dried.
Step 2: Rinse and Dry
Take your colander full of seeds to the kitchen faucet and rinse them well. Try to remove as much of the pumpkin material as possible. (Though some people enjoy a little roasted pumpkin string in their seeds!) After rinsing the seeds, spread them out over a layer of paper towels. Allow the seeds to try for approximately one hour.
As the end of the hour approaches, it's time to pre-heat your oven.
Step 3: Getting Ready to Roast
There are different schools of thought about how high a temperature you should bake pumpkin seeds at and for how long you should bake the seeds. A good middle ground if you're just learning how to roast raw pumpkin seeds is approximately 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
While waiting for your oven to pre-heat, you can prepare your seeds for baking. While pumpkin seeds are healthy, tasty, and crunchy on their own, part of the enjoyment of roasting them at home is being able to add seasoning to your own tastes. Most people start with a traditional seasoning of salt and a little olive oil, avocado oil, or melted butter.
A good rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon of oil or melted butter per two cups of seeds, and salt to taste. You can prepare the seasoning by mixing the seeds, oil or butter, and salt in a mixing bowl, or you could drizzle the fat and sprinkle the salt right over the seeds after spreading them over parchment paper or aluminum foil in your baking pan.
Step 4: Bake and Cool
Set a timer to go off after about five or ten minutes. This is your alert to check the seeds and give them a stir so they roast evenly. As your seeds roast, your kitchen will fill with the nutty, comforting fragrance of roasting seeds!
When time's up, remove the pan of seeds and set them aside to cool for at least ten minutes.
Some people love the taste of warm roasted pumpkin seeds right out of the oven! Be sure to let your seeds cool completely before eating them... after that, though, don't be surprised if they disappear in less time than it took to roast them!
Mistakes to Avoid
Learning how to roast raw pumpkin seeds is pretty simple. However, everyone makes mistakes. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them so your seeds end up perfectly roasted:
Don't Leave too Much String
Be sure to remove as much of the pumpkin "string" as possible. If a little makes it into the pan, that's no big deal: in fact, some people like the taste. But you're not making baked pumpkin here, so be sure to rinse the seeds thoroughly.
Keep Checking the Seeds
Next, when it's time for the oven, remember to check up on your seeds! They're ready to come out of the oven when they're a light golden color. It's better to err on the side of too little roasting than end up with burned seeds.
Stir your seeds at least once during the baking process; otherwise, you'll end up with seeds that are burned on one side and raw on the other.
Let Them Cool
Let your seeds cool before eating them. This sounds straightforward, but trust us.... when the delicious nutty fragrance of roasted seeds fills your kitchen, it will be hard to resist snatching a few right off the pan.
Fun Flavors and Uses for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
One of the best reasons for learning how to roast raw pumpkin seeds is the way they can be seasoned and personalized with different flavor combinations and recipes.
Spices and Seasonings
The nutty roasted flavor of your pumpkin seeds is a great way to experiment with different seasonings. To test which flavors you, your family, and your friends like best before actually seasoning your seeds, we recommend popping natural, unbuttered, and unflavored popcorn. Try these seasoning combos on the popcorn. If they meet the approval of those in your family and circle of friends, then try them out in the seasoning step before sliding your pan of seeds into the oven.
Some fun combinations to try include:
- Olive oil and cajun or taco seasoning
- Vegetable oil and sugar
- Melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon
- Melted butter and a teaspoon of Worcester sauce
- Vegetable oil, a teaspoon of soy sauce, and a dash of sriracha sauce or a touch of wasabi
- Avocado oil and cayenne pepper
A Crunchy Touch in Recipes
With their mega-punch of protein and fiber, roasted pumpkin seeds make a great addition to many recipes. Learning how to roast raw pumpkin seeds opens new avenues for all kinds of food we take for granted as boring. Some great uses for roasted pumpkin seeds include:
- Jazzing up homemade granola
- Creating a nutty crunch in plain, vanilla, or fruit flavored yogurt
- Replacing croutons on salads
- Subbing for slivered almonds in baked goods
- Toppings for pumpkin pies (of course!)
- Boosting fiber and protein in home-made "Chex" mix
- Adding texture to pumpkin, tomato, or lentil soup
- Tossing into a Ziploc baggie for an on-the-go power snack
If you're not sure how to use your seeds right after baking them, that's okay! They'll stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week or in the freezer for up to a month: just enough time for you to wow everyone at Thanksgiving dinner with your roasted-pumpkin seed topped sweet potatoes, pumpkin seed hummus, and pumpkin seed chocolate cake!
When October rolls around, it seems as if we all end up with a couple of painted or carved pumpkins on our doorsteps. For many of us, though, the best part of the pumpkin is the seeds! Learn how to roast your own tasty, nutritious pumpkin seeds. For many of us, these roasted pumpkin seeds are the highlight of the Halloween season. The smell of roasted pumpkin seeds wafting from the kitchen, the whole family around the table full of ideas for their perfect jack-o'-lantern design, and a chill breeze in the air that lets you know Halloween is just around the corner.
When you discover how easy it is to roast your own raw pumpkin seeds, you'll stop associating Halloween with candy and start craving these crunch, healthy seeds instead.
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