Roasted Pumpkin seeds, AKA Pepitas, are a great treat, and as is the case with many seeds, pretty good for you, too.
My Cousin Sally writes,
OK, Eben – Halloween is upon us, which means it’s time to nom on delicious toasted pumpkin seeds! Yay! But here’s the dilemma… Recipes on the Internet vary from 250 degrees to 400 degrees and 7 minutes to 50 minutes. And some recipes boil the little suckers before toasting! What the heck. Thoughts??
P.S. I used to go with the soy sauce and seasoned salt route, but now I’m a fan of the olive oil and sea salt mix. But I’m perplexed by the temp and time…
Great question! Here’s the drill for making great roasted pumpkin seeds every time.
Remove seeds from sugar pumpkins, and by golly, save or use that flesh for wonderful things, like Pumpkin Flan. Roasted seeds make a great garnish for squash bisque, and make a fabulous garnish on Oaxacan style chiles rellenos.
Simmering the seeds in salted water is a must-do – It helps make the seed covers less chewy, more crunchy, and also gets seasoning deeper into the seeds. It also helps remove any residual stringy stuff.
Use 4 Cups of water with 2 teaspoons salt for every Cup of seeds.
Bring salted water to a boil, then add seeds, stir, and reduce temp to maintain a steady simmer.
Cook for 10 minutes, then drain through a single mesh strainer.
Pat dry with paper toweling.
Preheat oven to 400° F – High temp roasting will give the crunchiest, most consistent results.
Note that Avocado oil is especially good for this – it’s got the highest smoke point.
Season each cup of seeds with,
1 Tablespoon Avocado Oil, (Olive or vegetable oil is OK)
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon chile flake or powder
Savory seasonings work better than sweet, as the sugars tend to make seeds prone to burning in a high temp roast. Any combo you like is worth trying – Soy-Lime-Garlic, Lemon Thyme & Sea Salt, Smoked Salt and cracked Pepper, etc. Our Go To Seasoned Salt is fantastic here.
If you really want a sweet version, roast seeds with just the oil, then add sweet seasoning after the roast – The oil will help it stick, and you won’t burn your goodies.
Roast, evenly spread on a baking sheet, for 18 to 20 minutes, until nicely toasted.
Remove from oven and baking sheet, allow to cool before decimating.
And as my Sis, Ann Lovejoy notes over in her wonderful blog, “Store pepitos in a tightly sealed jar out of direct light for up to 2 months or freeze them for longer storage.”
And Happy Halloween!