Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Halloween is upon us, once again! Although we don't get quite as festive about it here in Australia as our American friends, there is a notable increase in the proximity and accessibility of pumpkin, pumpkin and more pumpkin.
We are pumpkin-loving people, so there are minimal complaints from us (aside from a slight concern about where and how all this pumpkin is coming to be, at the start of Spring...), so we're getting in to the swing of things and enjoying plenty of pumpkin recipes... but we NEVER throw out those beautiful seeds!
As I'm sure most of you health-conscious folks will know, the pumpkin seed (and the green kernel or 'pepita' inside) is remarkably healthy to eat with a host of nutritional power. An incredibly rich source of magnesium, zinc and antioxidants, pumpkin seeds are thought to assist with a wide range of health conditions from prostate health, to helping lower blood sugar, to enhancing a good night's sleep.
A lot of this isn't news, but to be on the safe side (and perhaps because I'm still slightly traumatised from the last time I encouraged you all to eat a particular seed...), you can read summaries outlining the benefits with many qualified empirical references here and here. We cool? ;-)
So! when you're carving up your pumpkin this year, don't discard those luscious seeds!! They double as an easy, healthy, tasty snack that packs a major nutritional punch. Give this recipe a whirl and you'll be left with delicious morsels that taste similar to crunchy popcorn, not to mention less wastage and more bang for your buck.
No time to keep reading? Scroll to the bottom of the page for a handy how-to video to give you the low-down.
And no, you do NOT have to shell them - put the hammers and rolling pins away, people! It's really not necessary. The husk is perfectly edible, and removing it a fiddly, messy, time-consuming drama (plus apparently that's where the best the zinc is at!).
You'll notice this recipe doesn't have exact measurements for the ingredients, which is for the simple reason that I'm not going to try and guess how many seeds your pumpkin has ;-) You'll have to use your best judgement, which actually works out great, given this recipe lends itself very well to adjustments based on personal tastes. Test away, there's no right or wrong!
- Raw pumpkin seeds, straight from the pumpkin, shells in tact
- Olive oil (approximately one teaspoon per small handful of seeds)
- Good quality salt (I used pink Himalayan)
- Seasonings of your choice. I love hot smoked paprika. Cayenne pepper, cumin and fennel are also lovely flavours
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350C. Remove the pulp and seeds from your pumpkin, separating as much of the pulp as you can. Rinse the seeds well.
- Place the seeds in a bowl and season with the oil, salt and seasoning. Use your hands to help coat the seeds with the seasoning mix.
- Tip the seasoned seeds out onto a baking tray/cookie sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Use your hands to spread the seed out into a single layer.
- Bake for around 10 minutes, or until the seeds are golden brown and crunchy. Your nose will be a great help here - once you start to smell popcorn, they're almost ready.
- Allow to cool and then serve. Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.