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It’s been a big tradition around our house. Dad gets the first job of cleaning the pumpkin, piling the guts and seeds into a big bowl and passing the rest off to the others. Then dad gets the dirty work, the kids get the fun of carving and then mom….well we get the rest! For years my job has been the seeds.

It’s best to start the seeds as soon as possible as once they dry in the pumpkin guts it’s almost impossible to separate them. Once the seeds are separated you’ll need to thoroughly rinse them under cold water. Use a strainer and let the water run over them, pull out as much of the pumpkin pump as possible.

Use a lightly oiled baking sheet or spray with non stick spray. Use one of the recommended recipes below and place the baking sheet in a preheated oven at 325 degrees. I find that stirring every 5 minutes works well and on average (depending on how plump and moist the seeds are) it takes 25 minutes. Once the pumpkin seeds are golden brown remove from the oven and let cool. Don’t forget that once they are cooled to place them in an airtight container so they don’t stale. At our house they usually don’t make it that far. Dad and kids arrive to finish their job by sneaking the seeds off the hot tray.

Here are a few recipe ideas for creating the perfect pumpkin seed flavours.

1) Salt – The most popular style. Just sprinkle before you place the seeds in the oven.
2) Cumin – Sharp and pungent. This is our favourite! Add some salt, cinnamon and ginger…even a pinch of cayenne to kick it up a notch.
3) Sweet and Sour – bake the seeds at a lower temperature until light golden blonde and then in a warm skillet mix same ingredients as above (1/4 tsp of each) and 3 tablespoons of granular sugar with 1 tablespoon of peanut oil and the baked pumpkin seeds. Don’t leave for even a second as this stage does not take long. Continually stir and toss till the sugar melts and the seeds start to caramelize. Maximum one minute.
4) Desert seeds – mmmm brown sugar and cinnamon! Use butter flavoured cooking spray and it almost tastes like apple pie….without the apples of course 😉
5) Hot and Spicy – hot sauce, cayenne, ancho chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Try a little bit of fresh lime juice just before eating and you’ve got yourself a little bit of Mexico.

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