Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Pumpkin seeds
Carving pumpkins is a tradition for nearly everyone I know. When I was little, my mom would save the seeds, rinse them, soak them in a salt-laden bowl of water overnight and then bake them. They were a treat then, but my taste is a bit more sophisticated now!
My taste is a bit more sophisticated now and I don’t soak them in salt water!
I lightly salt mine then spread them on a baking sheet, pop them in at 250 for about an hour. Then….
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. The seeds can pop in this step and burn you! 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.
I’ve also made pie from the sugar or pie pumpkins. The body is a bit more stringy than the canned stuff but I kind of like it that way… you could certainly use a food processor and puree it.
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. Recipe here.
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! But it is 2020, so I might just be eating all of it myself!
I love pumpkin soup too. 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 it 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.