Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: More pumpkin love with seeds!
Another tradition we had in my family and probably yours, was to roast pumpkin seeds. My job, as I told you yesterday was to scoop the goop and separate the seeds.
My mom would leave the seeds soaking overnight in water that had to be saltier than the Dead Sea. She’d drain them and roast them for what seemed like hours.
My taste is a bit more sophisticated now and I don’t soak them in salt water. I barely rinse them.
I love roasting them! A light rinse, I then spread them on a baking sheet, pop them in at 250 for about an hour. (Note: I VERY lightly salt the seeds)
For this batch, I mixed 2 Tbsp of sugar with about 2 tsp. Of Chinese five spice and 1 tsp. Of cayenne pepper. I like mine with a little heat. Set this mixture aside. Heat about 1 tbsp. Of peanut oil, canola works fine. Toss your baked seeds in the oil with 1 tbsp. of sugar to caramelize, stirring constantly. This takes about a minute. Strain the seeds from the oil and then stir them into your sugar, Chinese five spice and cayenne mix. Let cool and wahlah! Spicy pumpkin seeds for the adult taste. Toasting them in this way you won’t have that woody texture we used to get by just roasting them. REMEMBER you roast them for an hour first!
You can mix up your own concoctions. For 2 cups of pumpkins seeds, I mixed 3 tbsp. sugar, some ground ginger, cinnamon, salt and cayenne in a bowl. After the pumpkin seeds baked, I put a tbsp. of sesame oil in a pan (heated it up to med high) and then put the pumpkin seeds in it with 2 tbsp. sugar. BE CAREFUL – THE SEEDS MAY POP ON YOU! Stirring constantly for about 1 min until the sugar caramelized. I then mixed them in the bowl with the ginger/cinnamon/cayenne/sugar.
Here’s another recipe I love:
- 2 c. pumpkin seeds
- 2 Tbsp. melted butter
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar (next time I’ll add another tablespoon)
- 2 drops hot pepper sauce (I used Sirachi and will add at least 2 more drops, I like it warmer!)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line baking pan with aluminum foil. Stir together the seeds and butter in a bowl. Add salt, Worcestershire, brown sugar and hot sauce, stir. Spread the seeds in a single layer. Bake for 45 minutes. They won’t seem crispy at first but take them out, mine crisped up nicely. (no using a pan on top of the stove for this one)
I’ve also made pie from the smaller pumpkins. The body is a bit more stringy than the canned stuff but I kind of like the added texture… you could certainly use a food processor and puree it. the Creekside Cook tells you how to cook the pumpkin and make a fresh pumpkin pie. She recommends making it “very smooth”. Like I said, I kinda like the texture.
For the best pie, use a sugar pumpkin that weighs about 5 pounds and, of course, bake it first.
It’s a little known fact, that Colonists sliced off pumpkin tops; removed seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. This was baked in hot ashes and is reported to be the origin of pumpkin pie.
Another pumpkin staple is the Pumpkin Dessert that is a must at every Thanksgiving. In fact, I’m not let in the door without it!
You can freeze any of your leftover cooked pumpkin for next time. When my dog was still with us I added it to her dry dog food as a treat. She loved and it was good for her. Pumpkin is loaded with beta carotene, an important antioxidant.
And just in case you didn’t know, pepitas are pumpkin seeds without the hull. They’re loaded with minerals, fiber, the good kind of fat and protein.
Another little fact, the more lines a pumpkin has and the darker the color, the more seeds are inside.