Before you can enjoy cooking pumpkin seeds or baking them, the first thing you need to do is clean the stringy stuff off the seeds. It is not necessary to get it all off because it will not hurt you if you eat some. Try to separate the seeds from the pulp, fiber, and strings with your fingers, pulling firmly on the seeds.
Once you have the seeds separated, soak them in a bowl of cold water for several minutes. Next, put them in a colander and hold them under warm water, turning the seeds with your fingertips to get the stringy stuff off. You may have to rub the seeds with your fingers if you want to make sure they are totally clean. You can also leave them to soak overnight.
Make sure you wash the pumpkin seeds soon after you remove them from inside the pumpkin, especially if you do not plan on soaking them in the bowl of water. If they are not washed or soaked, the stringy fibers will start to dry and make the seeds harder to clean. Once they are clean, spread them on wax paper or a clean paper bag. It will take at least thirty minutes for them to dry. If you let them dry on paper towels, they may stick to the paper towel.
Cooking pumpkin seeds
There are many ways in which you can cook with pumpkin seeds such as making candied pumpkin seeds.
Saute with two teaspoons butter, one-half cup raw pumpkin seeds, one-eighth teaspoon of each ground cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and paprika, one fourth teaspoon cumin and a tablespoon of honey. Melt butter in a ten inch skillet and then add all ingredients except honey. Stir until lightly brown. Then add honey, cooking an additional minute. Remove from heat and spread in a single layer on a non-stick pan until no longer sticky. This will take about fifteen minutes. You can use them in a salad or soup. You can store the pumpkin seeds in an air-tight container for up to three days.
Finely crush or chop plain roasted pumpkin seeds and add them to pumpkin bread, a topping for a pumpkin pie, in soups, salads, ice cream, or anything that you enjoy eating nuts on.
Baking pumpkin seeds
To bake pumpkin seeds brush a cookie sheet with vegetable oil or spray it with a nonstick cooking spray. Put the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on the sheet and turn them with a spatula so they are completely coated with oil. At this time is when you season them. Put the cookie sheet into the preheated oven and bake until they turn a little brown and are crisp. It will take about ten to twenty minutes. The temperature for the oven should be set at 275 degrees. After five minutes you will need to turn them once. Once cool store in an air-tight container.
Seasons to use on pumpkin seeds
- Cajun spice—one teaspoon Cajun seasoning, two dashes of Worcestershire sauce, one-half teaspoon paprika, one tablespoon margarine or butter. Toss with Cajun seasoning and then add the Worcestershire sauce and melted butter/margarine. Stir to coat well and bake for thirty minutes. Stir occasionally until the pumpkin seeds are golden brown. These can be added to salads, or as a snack.
- Baked garlic—garlic and cayenne pepper to taste, two teaspoons butter melted or vegetable oil. Toss pumpkin seeds with oil or butter then add garlic and cayenne pepper and stir well. Bake until golden brown, about forty-five minutes.
- Sugary and spicy—one tablespoon sugar, a pinch of ground cardamom and nutmeg, and two tablespoons of melted butter. Mix everything together. Add the pumpkin seeds, stirring until coated. Roast on a non-stick cookie sheet at 300 degrees. Stir from time to time until golden brown.
- Barbeque—toss with brown sugar, Chile powder, chipotle, ground cumin
- Sweet—toss with cinnamon and sugar
- Italian—toss with dried oregano and grated parmesan