Toasted Pumpkin Seeds: Three Ways

Toasted pumpkin seeds are the tiny, edible trophies you get for pumpkin cutting. Do not chop a pumpkin (or any winter pumpkin for that matter) without toasting or roasting the seeds. That's exactly what it should be. The question is, what is the best technique? There is some discussion about the best approach, but I have settled on an unruly method over the years. It's extremely easy and I'll share it here. Note that there are two departure points you'll see in my technique (compared to most). First! Some people boil pumpkin seeds before toast. No need. Secondly, now season and spice pumpkin seeds after baking, and I'll talk more about why.

Toasted pumpkin seeds

Different pumpkins, different seeds: Pumpkins are not the only winter pumpkin with seeds. And the seeds from different pumpkins have different sizes, shapes and textures. Play around with "ghost" white pumpkins, blue Hokkaido, zucchini, and all the other beautiful winter squash varieties for a range of seeds. Also, if you are going to roast the pumpkin, it is often much better taste than pumpkin cutting.

Toasted pumpkin seeds

Different seed sizes: The smaller seeds are cooked faster, so set the cooking time (less). Other than that, treat them like you would a regular "carving" pumpkin seed. The following are (top to bottom): pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seeds

Toasted pumpkin seeds

How to clean and make pumpkin seeds: Place a strainer (or filter) in a container filled with water. The seeds are floating, so this arrangement makes it much easier to separate the seeds from any persistent pumpkin flesh. Wipe the seeds from your pumpkin and transfer to the strainer. Separate the seeds from each pumpkin flesh and dry with napkins or a clean kitchen cloth.

The best technique: We roast the seeds after a good rinse after drying them thoroughly and take as much water as possible from the seeds. I'm convinced that steam seeds less using this method, and crisp more.

When to season? I used to focus heavily on pumpkin seeds before baking, but I find that if you bake with a lot of spice coating, the spices tend to bake or even burn. I make a lot or all of my spice after baking now.