Tis the season for wondering what to do with the big glob of seeds and string you scooped out of the pumpkin you're carving or are making into a pie.
Why not save the seeds and roast them into a delicious snack?
Even better, how about a pumpkin pie flavored snack without all of the sugar?
This recipe works with any winter squash seeds. I actually first tested it with spaghetti squash seeds, but "Pumpkin Pie Spiced Roasted Spaghetti Squash Seeds" just doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
Step 1: What You'll Need:
1. A Pumpkin (or other winter squash such as spaghetti, butternut, or delicata)
2. Spices: Ginger, cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg.
3. Mild tasting vegetable oil such as grapeseed or canola
5. A small bowl
6. A spoon
7. A baking sheet
8. Parchment paper
9. An oven
Step 2: Scoop Out the Pumpkin and Soak the Seeds in Salt Water
1. Scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin and reserve the flesh for another use like carving, pie, or soup. This can be done either before or after the pumpkin has been cooked (eg. if you decide to roast the pumpkin whole).
2. Add the seeds and stringy bits to a bowl of salt water making sure there's enough water to cover everything.
(This step softens the strings, helping to separate the seeds from the bits, and infuses the seeds with salt, so the flavor gets inside to the kernel where all the flavor is instead of sitting on the outside of the shell and getting all over your fingers.)
For lightly salted seeds, use 1/2 t. salt to 2 c. water.
For salty seeds that taste more like something you'd get out of a bag, salt as if you're seasoning pasta water, until it tastes like the sea.
3. After about 1/2 hour, the seeds and strings will begin to separate, and the seeds will float to the top while the strings sink.
Step 3: Mix Up the Spice Blend
While the seeds are soaking is a good time to mix up the pumpkin pie spice.
This step is optional. There are many perfectly good pumpkin pie spice blends on the market. If you have a favorite, go with that.
If you're a homemade spice blends fanatic like me, here are the ratios I used:
4 parts cinnamon
4 parts nutmeg
4 parts ginger
3 parts allspice
All spices ground, of course.
5 tsp. cinnamon/nutmeg/ginger and 2 1/2 tsp. allspice was enough to mostly fill a spice jar.
You will want at least 1 t. spice to 1 c. of seeds.
Step 4: Separate Seeds and Rinse
Most of the seeds should be floating at the top of the bowl. Scoop them out carefully with a slotted spoon.
Some seeds may still cling to the strings, but rubbing them with your hands under the water should free them.
Rinse the seeds in a strainer under cold water and put them in a small bowl.
Step 5: Mix Seeds With Spices and Oil
Mix seeds with enough oil to coat evenly. I used 2 tsp. oil to 1 c. seeds.
Add at least 1 tsp. spice to 1 c. seeds and mix again until the seeds are coated evenly.
Don't wash the mixing bowl yet! (You'll see why in step 8.)
Step 6: Spread Seeds Onto Baking Sheet and Roast
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the seeds out onto it in a single layer.
Roast in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until seeds are lightly browned and crunchy.
Step 7: Allow to Cool and Then Nom
If the seeds aren't as spicy as you'd like, return them to the bowl where you mixed them with oil and spices and stir, allowing the seeds to pick up some of the remaining spices and oil.