Free Pepitas with Every Pumpkin

Roasted pumpkin seeds are an easy-to-make seasonal favorite snack and come free with every pumpkin.

Halloween is just around the corner so I know a lot of pumpkins will be picked, carved, and used to decorate front porches everywhere.

As much fun as that is, my favorite part of this fall tradition is taking advantage of the pumpkin’s free seeds.

Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are a delicious snack and a good source of protein.

The easiest way I’ve found to roast them is to remove all the insides from the pumpkin, separate the seeds from the stringy and gooey pulp, and place seeds in a colander. After they’re well rinsed, I place them on a rimmed cookie sheet, sprinkle them with Kosher salt and then slow-roast them in a 300-degree oven for 45-60 minutes or more until they’re nice and toasty. Turn at least once while baking.

Another option for roasting pepitas is to buy the hulled, raw pumpkin seeds at a grocery or health food store. Here’s one recipe for spiced pepitas I like to use, but there are many other combinations of spices that work well, too. Just sprinkle with your favorite spices like home-grown paprika, toss with the raw seeds, and roast them. I  like to eat them out of hand as a snack, sprinkle them on top of soups or salads, and add them to other recipes, like a stuffed pumpkin, for a crunchy, nutty taste:

Spiced Pepitas

3 cups raw, hulled (green) pepitas
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300-degrees. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
Place raw pumpkin seeds in a bowl.
Mix the oil and spices together in a separate bowl.
Pour spice mixture over seeds and stir to coat them well.
Spread seeds evenly on the baking sheet.
Roast 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned and crunchy; turn at least once while roasting.
Let cool. Store in a tightly covered jar or other air-tight container.


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