When Halloween week rolls around, I can be sure of three things:
1) We will spend a minimum of three hours in Goodwill trying to create Pintrest-worthy costumes without spending more than $20 a child;
2) We will stock so much candy in our house our kids start to feel they’ve taken over the Wonka factory; and
3) Pumpkins will be carved and PUMPKIN SEEDS WILL BE ROASTED.
Pumpkins and pumpkin seeds… this island-girl-turned-Oregonian’s official sign that Fall is here.
Now, if you’ve never roasted pumpkin seeds, no worries: my process is easy and foolproof.
Here’s the scoop:
The process begins when you’re carving your pumpkins.
As you’re carving your pumpkins you’ll need two containers: one for the seeds, and one for the innards.
(Many times people will slop everything into one big bowl and wait to separate the seeds out after carving is complete. What I’ve found, however, is that it is wayyyy more easy to pull the seeds out as you work and just place them in a separate pot like I have above. Yes, anticipate there will be some pumpkin strings and goo mixed in with the seed bowl (more about that below), but a little is much easier to handle.
Soak your seeds.
Cover the seeds with water and allow them to sit for a couple hours. (We usually carve in the early evening, so I let my seeds soak for just a couple hours while I’m making/serving dinner.) It’s often said you should soak overnight, but I never do and mine always turn out amazing. (I also don’t usually have the patience to wait that long.)
Wash your seeds.
Place a colander in the sink and pour the seeds in. With the water running into the colander bowl, grab handfuls at a time and rub the seeds between your fingers. As the seeds pass through your hands, the friction will separate the seeds from any pumpkin remains. Pick out the pumpkin remains and you go, and continue to wash until all you have are clean seeds.
Dry your seeds.
This is a pivotal step because in order for the oils and spices to stick, the seeds cannot be wet. Lay out a paper bag and some paper towels. Spread the washed seeds out into a thin layer and, with a clean kitchen towel laid flat on top, gently press the towel over the seeds to soak up any water. (You can use paper towels, too.)
Season your seeds. Place the dried seeds into a large bowl. For each cup of seeds, drizzle in 1 TBSP olive oil. Then, sprinkle seeds with about 1 tsp coarse sea salt, 1 tsp black pepper, and a 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Stir to coat evenly.
Roast your seeds. The keys are LOW and SLOW. Turn the oven to 250 degrees. Lay your seeds in a single layer on a metal cookie sheet. (There is no need to use non-stick spray on the pan.) Every 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and stir with a fork (and be sure you put them back into a single layer before you return them to the oven). Allow seeds to roast for 1 hour total.
Now, let me tell you: these are amazing and perfect every time. They are light, just perfectly salted, and so good a batch of these rarely makes it through 24 hours.