The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

6:08 AM

Roasted Pumpkin Seed and Halloween Fun

Posted by Truffle Shuffle

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
and Halloween Fun

We had kids over a few days ago, so I cleaned out some pumpkins for them to carve, and set the seeds aside for a little roasting.  Roasting pumpkin seeds is something I learned from my mom, and I do it every year.  Kid love trick or treating; I love roasted pumpkin seeds!

Seeding and Roasting
All you really need is at least one pumpkin.  It can be difficult to tell whether a pumpkin has a lot of seeds, and some big ones may have few, while some small ones may have a lot.  You really just have to try your luck. 
When you gut out your pumpkins to create jack o' lanterns, if you throw away those seeds, shame on you!  Those little seeds make one of the most delicious snacks you will ever have!  Just set them aside in a bowl when you clean out the pumpkin, and you can tend to them later.

Once all of the festivities are done and it's time to roast those seeds, you need to do a little bit of prep work.  Clean the seeds thoroughly, and make sure there are absolutely no pieces of pumpkin left over.  The pumpkin flesh will burn during roasting, and become very bitter.  Just rinse the seeds in a bowl of water, and remove any bits of pumpkin that you find.  Change the water as necessary.
Once the seeds are clean and free of pumpkin pieces, drain out all of the water that you can.  The seeds don't need to be dry, but you don't want any residual water.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Take a baking sheet and moderately coat it in a light oil.  I used canola oil, but other oils such as vegetable, safflower, peanut (or even pumpkin seed oil!) will work just fine. 
Places the seeds on the pan, and spread them out.  You may want to scoop them with a slotted spoon, to insure that no excess water from the bowl gets on the pan.  You want a pretty flat layer, so if you were lucky enough to get so many seeds that you would need to pile them to make them fit, save half of them for a second sheet.  In order to roast them properly, you want the contents of the pan to be as close as possible to a single layer of seeds.
Roast the seeds at 350 degrees.  I don't time the seeds, as they always seem to take a different amount of time, and some people like them more or less crispy.  What you should do is check them every five to ten minutes, and stir them around, then re-flatten them on the bottom of the pan, to make sure they roast evenly on both sides.  Be careful not to burn yourself!

When they start to dry out a bit, add whatever seasonings you like.  Remember that you want the flavor of the seeds to shine, so your coating should be fairly simple.  This time, I just used some garlic salt, some freshly-ground pepper, some smoked paprika, and a little bit of ancho chile powder.  If you don't like them spicy, don't use any chile powder (then again, if you like them really spicy, try some habanero powder!)
Once they start to brown and get crispy, taste, reseason as necessary, and remove the seeds to a dish when they meet your liking.  I like mine pretty crispy and dark, but if you like them lighter, feel free to take them off whenever they suit your desire.  Just don't burn them (these burn pretty easily).  Serve them in your favorite serving bowl, and enjoy!  And remember, it doesn't hurt to check once more to make sure they have enough salt.

Note: packaged pumpkin seeds are obviously much easier to use than seeds you must extract from pumpkins, but since you're doing it anyway (right?), it's not so bad... Plus, the packaged seeds really don't have the same flavor or crispy texture as fresh seeds.

Halloween Fun
Below are some pictures of the kids having fun making some great Halloween treats, and a shot of our jack o' lanterns.  Before you ask, no, we are not professional pumpkin carvers.  Give us a break!  Haha.

These sorts of recipes are simple and easy, and great to do with the kids for Halloween.  They don't cost much, and they are a nice hands-on activity to get them involved, since pumpkin seed roasting is definitely not for kids, and the little kids can't use knives to carve up those pumpkins!

The ghoul toes are thick pretzel sticks dipped in chocolate and topped with an almond toenail.  The spiders are created by dipping fried chow mein noodles (the kind you buy in a can) into melted chocolate, and adding red hots for eyes.  Spooky!

Thanks to an old edition of the L.A. Times for the Halloween treat ideas!

Enjoy~ Adam aka Truffle Suffle

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