I have become quickly addicted to these…
It having just been halloween, there were of course an excess of pumpkin guts to do something with. This year we seem to have found a really delightful way to use them up. Once the Gourd was sacrificed, I had almost a quart of seeds. The processing was a bit involved, but really worth it.
First things first:
- Pumpkin seeds from a reasonably sized jack o’lantern
- Salt to taste
- Brown sugar 2-3 tablespoons
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- shake of Nutmeg (optional, but at this point, add whatever you like… I’ve been watching FoodWishes enough to have added a dash of cayenne but that’s hardly necessary)
- Fill a 3-5qt pot about half full of water and a couple of tablespoons of salt, put on a burner on high to boil
- while the water is heating, dump the seeds into a bowl full of water to rinse, and try to clean off any excess pumpkin flesh and membrane, then drain.
- when the water boils, dump the seeds into the boiling salty water, keep on high until the water comes back to a boil then lower the heat so it simmers and doesn’t boil over. stir occasionally, and keep an eye on it as it may try to foam up and over the side.
- cook for about 15 minutes and drain through a strainer or colander and let cool for a bit
- at this point you want to mostly dry the seeds off. shake them about in the strainer a bit, carefully as they will be very slick and hot at this point.
- while the seeds are cooling, in a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and any other flavorings you’re in the mood for.
- turn on the oven to 300ºF, it doesn’t need to be too hot.
- when the seeds have cooled, pour them out onto a clean towel or similar and try to blot up as much of the excess water. they don’t need to be dry, but you don’t want too much moisture if you can help it.
- dust on the sugar mix and stir the seeds around until everything has a nice coating of the sugar.
- spread the seeds out into as near a single layer as you can, on to a lightly oiled sheet pan, (or a non-stick one if you have one,) considering the sugar, I might recommend using a layer of foil that’s been lightly oiled. I had some non-stick reynolds wrap foil that worked well. made it very easy to mix them about later.
- put the pan in the oven and wait. every 5-10 minutes, take a spatula and stir the seeds around to make sure they brown on both sides.
- for me, it took between 30-40 minutes to fully roast, evaporating all the remaining cooking water and lightly browning the seeds and the sugar. they definitely darken a little, but we’re not looking for a deep brown here. just dried and crunchy
- when cooked to your satisfaction take them out of the oven and let them cool for a moment on the pan, then pour into a large bowl. as they cool further you’ll want to stir them around so they don’t fuse together. as the sugar sets it’ll try to turn into one giant thing. just keep breaking them up. by the time it’s cool enough to do that with your fingers, they should be cool enough to no longer stick together.
When you’re done, you’ll be left with a not too sweet, ever so slightly salty counterbalance to all the leftover halloween candy.