It’s that time of year and we had a lovely pumpkin to make a traditional Jack-O-Lantern with. We decorated with some fun decorations for the kiddies and we have our treats ready! It’s not technically our holiday and we don’t really celebrate but we do like to give out candy and have a Jack-O-Lantern anyway in the interest of being good neighbours. This Jack-O-Lantern art also meant we had pumpkin seeds. Over the years I have tried lots of pumpkin seed recipes but about 15 years ago I found a really good one. The result is delicious roasted pumpkin seeds you can eat whole without taking the shell off.
The first step is get your seeds sort of cleaned up. They don’t have to be perfectly clean, just mostly. Put the seeds in a pot and add a teaspoon of coarse salt with enough water to float all the seeds plus two inches. Bring the seeds to a boil and then simmer gently. You will need to simmer a long time until all the seeds have a clear cooked look. It takes about 45 minutes but you use the look of the seeds not the time to decide. How long the seeds need depends on the type of pumpkin you use and the ripeness. As you simmer, occasionally stir and the uncooked ones will show up as lighter. You’re ready to start baking when all the seeds are greyish and don’t float.
In this image the seeds are about half cooked. Some are clear and have sunk down. Some are still floating. You can’t really over cook at this stage so keep simmering until they are all boiled and greyish. Don’t rush this step or you will have tough seeds.
Once all the seeds are soft and greyish, drain the water. Add enough margarine or butter to generously coat all the seeds and spread them on a cookie sheet. They will be salty from the boiling but you can add more salt if you like. Bake the seeds at 350F until they are all dry and golden brown. Every few minutes stir them and spread them again. Be careful with baking and watch closely because you can easily burn them.
This is what they look like as they bake. They will brown in spots which is why you need to keep stirring them or you’ll end up with burnt spots.
Once the seeds are all baked to a uniform golden brown they are ready. No need to shell the seeds. The outside shell has been softened by the boiling and you just pop them in your mouth and eat them whole. I have been told the seeds will keep for a long time prepared this way, but they never have lasted to the time we blow out the candle on the Jack-O-Lantern at my house. YUMMY! Happy Halloween!