One of the greatest activities of fall, at least culinarily speaking, is the one that you do right after you carve your jack o’lantern: roast pumpkin seeds.
In fact, from a food-loving grown-up perspective, roasting pumpkin seeds might even be more fun than carving your pumpkin into a face with a crooked smile. If you haven’t carved a pumpkin in a while, take this post as your signal to run out, buy a pumpkin….
…cut off the “lid”…
…and scoop out all those gooey seeds. Each pumpkin will cough up a different quantity of seeds, so don’t bank on having a pumpkin seed feast until you’re sure you’ve got plenty. If you want a guarantee, invite friends over for a carving (and eating) party.
Before you roast, you want to rinse the seeds in a big bowl of water to remove the orange grime. Then, the seeds and place them on a dish towel on the counter. Pat them dry with another towel. With big batch of cleaned, dried pumpkin seeds, you’re now ready to roast.
Also known as The Salty, this pumpkin seed preparation is the classic. Preheat the oven to 300°F, then arrange your seeds in one layer on a baking sheet and with a bit of olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Roast for about 30 minutes, until they’re dry and browned. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with a little more salt if you like, and you’re done.
The flavors of pumpkin pie obviously pair well with pumpkin seeds. The trick is in getting the nutmeg and cinnamon to stick to the sort of slimy seeds. The glue? Egg white. To make a batch of these, you’ll need at least 3 cups of washed, dried seeds–from two to three large pumpkins. To make ’em, whisk together one egg white with a teaspoon of water until foamy. Add 1/3 cup of brown sugar and big pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg (throw in ginger and cloves, too, if you have them). Whisk in a pinch of salt, then add the seeds. Use a wooden spoon to help you coat the seeds, then scoop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in a 300°F oven for about 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes, until the seeds are dry.
Getting spice to stick to your seeds requires the same cooking know-how you acquired in the sweet take, above. Again, start with at least 3 cups of seeds, then whip up an egg white until thick and foamy with a teaspoon of water and add just 2 tablespoons of sugar. Throw in big pinches of your favorite hot spices: we combined smoky chipotle chili powder, peppery ancho chili powder, and cayenne for pure heat. Get some salt in there too, to make the flavors pop. If you’re not a spicy food lover, opt for smoked paprika instead. Same deal for roasting: throw the seeds in one layer on a parchment-lined sheet, then roast until dry in a 300°F oven, tossing every 10 minutes, for about 30 minutes.