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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

When I was growing up, carving pumpkins at Halloween was a fine tradition.

Those of you readers with children or grandchildren are most likely still happily carving pumpkins this week. My sister, brother and I were always sure to separate the seeds and roast them with a little salt. This was one of the signs that it was time for Halloween.

Roasted pumpkin seeds are quite popular and can be purchased in the snack aisle at your local store. However, when carving pumpkins you have a bountiful supply and should be roasting your own. Great tasting and good for you pumpkin seeds are simple to roast. For those of you with “more sophisticated palettes” there is a seemingly endless variety of flavors you can add besides just the salt.

Remember, if you’re using commercially blended spice mixes they may contain their own salt, so it would be best to consider reducing the salt in the main recipe.

Roasted snacks are nothing new to the list of our favorite foods. Roasting brings out flavor and adds some of its own unique and desirable tasting profiles. The carmelization of the natural sugars produce a wonderful deep rich color and matching flavor with a crispy texture all its own.

Here is the foundation recipe:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds 2          cups           pumpkin seeds, cleaned and patted dry 2          tsp            extra virgin olive oil, or clarified butter1/4 tsp                   Salt

Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with foil. Place the seeds and oil in a bowl and toss well to completely, yet lightly, coat the seeds, sprinkle with salt to your own taste and toss some more. Spread the seeds in a single layer on the baking sheet, (you may need 2 baking sheets). Bake, stirring every 6 to 7 minutes, until the seeds are a rich golden brown. Remove to a plate to cool.

That’s the basics for roasting your own seeds. If you follow this recipe you won’t be disappointed. There is quite a variety if you use any of the optional flavorings I listed above.

However, there is yet another way to roast these tasty little seeds and I want to introduce that to you. The salt can be infused into the seeds much the way peanuts are salted in the shell.

Pumpkins Seeds Salted in the Shell

2          cups                 pumpkin seeds, cleaned and patted dry 8          cups                 water 4          Tbl                   salt

Preheat oven to 400°F..

In a small saucepan, add the seeds and salt to the water.  Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.

Spread about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over the bottom of a roasting pan.

Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan, all in one layer. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 10-20 minutes, stirring every 6 to 7 minutes. When browned to your satisfaction, remove from the oven and let the pan cool on a rack. Be sure to cool the seeds all the way down before eating.

You can experiment by adding other flavors to the water and salt. Things to think about would include garlic, (fresh of course), onion, herbs, other seeds like caraway or fennel, southwest style peppers and various types of sweeteners just to name a few.

All those who snack in your house will thank you for the wonderful flavors you are feeding them. Happy Halloween!

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