This time of year, they’re everywhere — porches, benches, table settings, windows, sidewalks, farm stands, and grocery stores. Yes, pumpkins! And although those bumpy orange orbs are a terrific harbinger of everybody’s favorite dress-up holiday, what do you do with them after the goblins are gone?
Cook it up! You don’t have to be a master chef to learn how to cook pumpkin seeds. Toasted or roasted with a minimum of ingredients, they’re a healthy and satisfying snack for lunch boxes, movie night, or cocktail hour (they look great in a fancy glass bowl). Or scatter them on a salad for a little crunch (my favorite way to enjoy them).
You can also use the meat of the pumpkin by cutting them in half, scooping out the seeds, then roasting the shells (cut side down) for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, and add the flesh to lasagna, pies, stuffed pastas, soups, or chicken hash.
Sugar ‘N’ Spice
Perhaps you prefer your snacks a little snappier, or maybe on the sweet side. Be bold and experiment (there’s no shortage of seeds). Add your desired flavorings when you toss the seeds and oil together. Note that if you add sweeteners — a few tablespoons of sugar, honey, or maple syrup — the cooking time may be shorter. Keep your eye on the seeds and stir them often.
If you like spice, try a tablespoon of cayenne, chili seasoning, smoked paprika, ground cumin or coriander, curry powder, or garlic powder. Or try my favorite, a combination of sweet and spicy: 1 tablespoon honey with 1 tablespoon cayenne.