You’ve crafted the perfect gruesome or goofy jack-o’-lantern. But what to do with all the glop you scraped out in the process?
Don’t even think of tossing it. Pumpkin seeds are a great healthy snack and a delicious addition to salads, granola or trail mix.
‘I look at pumpkin seeds like popcorn. They can be spiced and seasoned so many different ways,’ says Lucinda Scala Quinn, executive editorial director of food at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. ‘And spicy pumpkin seeds are perfect for munching.’
But before you can munch, the seeds need to be cleaned.
Traditionally, you separate the seeds from the fibrous strands and clean them with water before roasting. One way is to scoop the whole mess into a colander and run it under cool water. The seeds and fibres will separate if you swish them with your hands.
To toast the seeds, arrange them in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350ºF. If not perfectly golden, leave them in the oven and check every minute until done.
‘Pay attention,’ says Ms Quinn. ‘When cooking any nuts or seeds, you can’t walk away or get sidetracked on the telephone.’
But Ms Quinn prefers a simpler method for cleaning her seeds. Rather than wash the fibres off the seeds, she toasts everything.
‘I throw the whole mess in the oven and once they are dried out, it separates very easily,’ she says. If you go that route, roast them spread in an even layer on a baking sheet at 375ºF until the fibres dry out and fall away from the seeds.
Once clean, transfer the seeds to a bowl and toss with olive oil, peanut or saffron oil. Then add your spices. Ms Quinn suggests:
– Olive oil and salt
– Grated Parmesan cheese, black pepper and salt
– Cayenne pepper, lime juice, brown sugar and salt
– Cinnamon, brown sugar, powdered ginger or cloves, and pinch of salt
If you clean and season your seeds before roasting (the water washing method), be sure never to add sugar. The sugar will burn in the oven and should only be added after. And with any sweet spicing, don’t forget to add a pinch of salt, says Ms Quinn.
Pumpkin seeds seasoned with olive oil and salt are great in granola or on top of a salad. They also are great mixed with dried fruit (such as cranberries, cherries and raisins) to make a quick trail mix.
‘That salty, sweet and chewy is a great combination,’ says Ms Quinn.