Photo by Ginger Hutlin
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays aside from Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Every year I pick out my costume and get ready for pumpkin carving. I’ve also been known to have some fun pumpkin carving parties where I serve my famous apple cider bourbon punch and we all go to town making creative pumpkin sculptures.
This year, I saved the seeds from my pumpkin and needed a simple, easy way to bake them so I could still be with my guests. It’s so fun to make a recipe like this the night-of so people can enjoy the snack. If you want to take it to the next level, have containers ready to go so you can send salt and pepper pumpkin seeds home with folks. The best thing about this recipe is that it’s a simple base for you to build on. Add in other fun ingredients that make the flavor pop!
Getting the Seeds
The hard part here is carving the pumpkin. First grab a big bowl. Cut a circle around the top of the stem and carefully remove it and slice off any seeds on that part and put it in your bowl. After that, take a large metal spoon and start scraping the inside of the pumpkin, loosening the insides where the seeds are. Once the insides have fallen to the bottom of the pumpkin, scoop it out with the spoon (or even your hands) and place it in the bowl. Do that until all the insides are completely scrapped out and the pumpkin is hollow.
Then hand-pick your seeds from the bowl and place them into a smaller bowl. Your fingers are the very best way to loosen the slippery seeds from the fruit strands. Pluck them out and run your hands down the strings to loosen the seeds. Once you’ve got most of them, put them in a strainer and use your hands to wash off all the pumpkin gunk. They may still be a little sticky but that’s ok if they’re relatively clean.
Salt and Pepper Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 to 2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds (rinsed)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons dairy or vegan butter (melted)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
Preheat oven to 300°F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine seeds, melted butter or butter substitute, salt and pepper and chili powder. Spread seed mixture on a parchment lined baking pan and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until toasty brown but not burned! Remove from oven and serve warm.
Article by Ginger Hultin for Food & Nutrition.org