When you’re carving your Halloween pumpkins, don’t toss the seeds. Turn them into toasted pumpkin seeds!
Toasted and salted, pumpkin seeds have a nutty flavor. Seasoned with sweet and savory spices, they’re even better.
Pro Pumpkin-Picking Tip: Sugar pumpkins are a good choice. Their seeds roast to a beautiful crisp. Also, heavier pumpkins equal more seeds. So pick the biggest pumpkin you can find.
Roasting Pumpkin Seeds
1.) Wash the seeds.
This is easiest just after you’ve removed the seeds from the pumpkin, before the pulp has dried. Put the pulp and seeds into a large bowl of cold water, and work the pulp with your fingers, picking out the strings and clingy pumpkin bits.
Related: How to Carve a Pumpkin
2.) Boil them in salt water.
You may have noticed: Pumpkin seeds don’t roast evenly. The insides tend to get done faster than the shells; they can burn in the middle before the shells are nice and toasty. Simmering them first, in salty water for about 10 minutes, solves this problem.
3.) Dry the seeds.
Drain the seeds in a sieve and dry with towels.
4.) Place them on a baking sheet.
Drizzle the seeds with about 1 teaspoon of oil. Stir to coat the seeds and then spread them out into a single layer. The less overlap the better. If you prefer, omit the oil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
5.) Sprinkle them with salt and bake at 325 degrees F.
Roast until toasted, about 25 minutes. Check on your seeds every 10 minutes, removing the baking sheet from the oven and stirring. After 20 minutes, give them a test. Let them cool a moment; then break into a few to ensure they’re not burning on the inside. If they’re crispy on the outside, tender and golden on the inside, you’re work is done.
6.) Let cool and store in an air-tight container.
Season them as you like. And crunch away! Stored in an air-tight container, your pumpkin seeds will keep for 1-2 months in the refrigerator, or at room temperature for about a week.
5-Star Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipes
Fun Fact: Why We Carve Pumpkins
The story of the Jack o’Lantern comes from Irish folklore. Jack was a crafty farmer who tricked the Devil into climbing a tall tree. When the Devil reached the highest branch, Jack carved a large cross in the trunk, making it impossible for the Devil to climb down.
In exchange for help getting out of the tree, the Devil promised never to tempt Jack with evil again. When Jack died, he was turned away from Heaven for his sins and turned away from Hell because of his trickery. Condemned to wander the earth without rest, Jack carved out one of his turnips, took an ember from the devil, and used it for a lantern to light his way. He became known as “Jack of the Lantern.”