There are about 1 billion pounds of pumpkins produced by the major pumpkin producing states in the U.S. And it’s a long-standing tradition to carve pumpkins in the United State. Take a “stab” at carving a pumpkin this year and eat those yummy seeds, but if you don’t know how to clean pumpkin seeds and roast them this is the article for you.
It’s pretty easy to roast pumpkin seeds, and adding this into your family tradition of carving pumpkins really enhances the experience. My children are always excited to have a delicious snack after the hard work of cleaning out their pumpkin. Yes, I make them help.
If you want some know-how to roast pumpkin seeds, and how to clean pumpkin seeds, then read on for my easy tips that will make your new pumpkin carving tradition a success.
Where Did Pumpkin Carving Come From
Pumpkin carving started as a tradition in the United States in the 1800s when Irish immigrants came over in a wave. The Irish tradition of carving a Jack O’Lantern began with the Celts carving turnips, of all things, and lighting them to ward off evil spirits. They didn’t have pumpkins.
But when the Irish came to the U.S. they discovered that pumpkins were not only bigger but easier to carve. The tradition of carving pumpkins was born. And now it’s one of our beloved fall projects.
How to Clean Pumpkin Seeds
As the children are cleaning out the “guts” of their pumpkins I have a large bowl in the middle of the newspaper-covered table. They toss their pumpkin innards in there.
After we’ve scraped all the insides of the pumpkin out with a spoon, I take the entire bowl to the trashcan. No, I’m not giving up already, but this is an important step in how to clean pumpkin seeds. Pick out as many clumps of seedless innards as you can and toss them.
The fewer guts you need to deal with the better.
Bring what you have left to the sink and place it into a colander. Give it a quick rinse while you agitate the guts with your hand to dislodge as many of the seeds as possible. When it comes to how to clean pumpkin seeds water is your friend.
Scoop out any large chunks of flesh without seeds and discard them into the trash.
Place the remainder of the contents into a bowl of water. The pumpkin seeds will float. Scoop out the floating seeds and place the seeds only into the colander.
Continue to agitate the pumpkin guts in the bowl with your hands until you have dislodged and scooped all of the good seeds out. Be sure not to take any seeds that are small, flat, or misshapen.
Once you have a colander of fairly clean seeds give it a good rinse. Mix the seeds around with your hands under the running water until they are smooth, white, and free of any remaining pumpkin flesh.
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Use a large baking sheet to spread the seeds on in a single layer. Leave a little breathing room between the seeds. I like to use two baking sheets to allow for two different flavors of roasted pumpkin seeds.
When it comes to how to roast pumpkin seeds it’s all about the prep. You’ve learned how to clean pumpkin seeds, but now it’s time for quality control.
Give your pumpkin seeds one last check for any attached threads of flesh, or seeds that are not the same size as the other ones. Overly small pumpkin seeds will bake much faster than larger ones and may burn as you roast.
Now it’s time to add your flavoring. Traditionally, we have one baking sheet of pumpkin seeds flavored with only a dash of sea salt. The other baking sheet is for a fun flavor, so keep on reading for some roasted pumpkin flavor ideas.
If you’re wondering how to roast pumpkin seeds I recommend slow and steady. Bake them at a lower temperature so they don’t burn.
I personally don’t like burnt seeds, but if that’s your thing go for it.
I recommend roasting at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. The seed will appear dry and may or may not begin to golden lightly. If you want to make your pumpkin seeds extra crispy you can put them under the broiler for a few minutes at the end.
If you do see your seeds start to change color pull them out. Little items like seeds and nuts can burn fast.
Pumpkin Seed Flavor Ideas
As I’ve said, we always have a batch of salted roasted pumpkin seeds. It’s a staple, like plain potato chips. It’s a go-to that the majority of people will like.
Another one of my favorite roasted pumpkin spices is paprika. For this article, I used a mix of salt, paprika, and a special McCormick Worcestershire black pepper blend. I don’t think they make this blend any longer, but McCormick has a bunch of Grill Mates Seasoning Blends that work wonderfully for no brain roasted pumpkin seed flavoring. But if you are a little more adventurous here are my 5 favorite roasted pumpkin seed flavors.
Pumpkin Pie Flavored Pumpkin Seed
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Garlic Parmesan Flavored Pumpkin Seeds
Taco Flavored Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
(Pro-tip: Sprinkle to your personal taste and save the rest for taco night.)
Ranch Flavored Pumpkin Seeds
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
- 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
(Pro-tip: If you don’t want to use fresh herbs get a Ranch flavor packet. Yes, it can be that easy!)
Buffalo Flavored Pumpkin Seeds
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
Roasting pumpkin seeds is an awesome family tradition for the fall, but it can be done anytime of the year for a healthy snack alternative for your children. If you are interested in other healthy foods check out this post on A Healthy Breakfast for Kids That Is Easy.
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