Monday, November 1, 2010

Project 1: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I carved a pumpkin yesterday, which left me with all the stringy, sticky insides of a pumpkin sitting on a trashbag on the dining room table.  I asked Kitchen Pirate (furthermore to be known as KP) if he wanted to do anything with them, and he mentioned roasting the seeds.  Now, I've never roasted pumpkin seeds before, but I do enjoy making KP happy.  Plus, it's a challenge, right?

So we put the seeds in a container overnight, and I decided to roast them.   There's recipes all over the place on the internet, so I found two that sounded interesting.  Butter and salt seems to be traditional, and I'm curious to try the cinnamon-sugar ones.

So since I'm reading that the seeds need to be reasonably dry, I put a batch in between two paper towels to dry them out.  Sort of like pressing flowers. :)  They stick a bit, but everything come off with a little flick of my finger, so no big deal.  I shake them around in a little bit of olive oil (better for you than butter, and I'm already coating these with salt) and spread them out on the baking sheet.

Into the oven they went, and everything goes fairly smoothly until I realize that while the cinnamon sugar goes on last, the salt in the other recipe goes on much earlier.  Crap.  I put the salt on, and hope it sticks, continuing to stir every five minutes so KP's Oven of Mt. Doom won't burn everything. (It's super finicky, and doesn't seem to like me very much, so I've learned to not trust directions when using the OoMD. I watch, and flip, and tweak temperatures.)

Once they're nearly done, I realize I don't have any idea what these are supposed to look like done, let alone taste like.  The picture with my recipe shows seeds straight from the pumpkin, so totally unhelpful.  It says "cook until golden brown", but that seems subjective.  Mine are splotchy "golden brown", does that count?  Finally, I decide they have to be done because I'm tired of stirring every five minutes.  (See?  I can be subjective too.) The salt doesn't really stick, and they sort of taste like sunflower seeds with the shell still on.  KP assures me they are good, and that's what they're supposed to taste like.

Would you use either of these?
Then there's the cinnamon sugar one.  I go to take the rest of the seeds off the paper towels, and they ALL STICK.  Like puling them off takes bits of paper towel with it.  Great.  I wet the paper towel to get them off, and put them on another dry paper towel for a bit to dry them out a bit.  *headdesk*  They go into the oven like the others.

But what about the cinnamon?  KP doesn't bake, so while I know there's sugar in the pantry, I don't have any idea about the cinnamon.  I check, and there's two possibly sketchy bottles of cinnamon.  One may be older than I am.  I'm not sure.  We toss that one out.  The other looks a little better.  At least it still smells like cinnamon.

When I go to stir the seeds, I very nearly use the salt covered spoon I used with the last batch.  Oops.  I rinse it off, and the near crisis is averted.  Half an hour later, they come out of the oven and the cinnamon-sugar mix is sprinkled over them.  I try one.  It tastes like... sunflower seeds with the shell still on sprinkled in sugar.   Oh.

KP still assures me this is what they're supposed to taste like.  Maybe I need to try a few more.


  1. You too? Lol I'm awful in the kicthen. I seem to have mastered the art of cupcake-making. But that's about it. As long as it comes in a bag or a box and has instructions, I'm fine. But otherwise? It will come out burnt, under or over seasoned, or something worse.

  2. Swedish chef says "Larwdy fardy smorgasborden und."

  3. I have found that pumpkin seeds are an aquired tatse, much like coffee or anything alcoholic. ;) Starngly enough, with everything else that I DO have a taste for, pumpkin seeds are not one of them. These things taste like cardboard to me, no matter who cooks them or what they're sprinkled with.
    Maybe you could grind them up and add them to your Irish car bomb cupcakes and find a palatable solution... though a bite of one of those was enough for me, too. LOL
    Now, you want something REALLY good from pumpkin, try pumpkin ice cream! *big smile and nodding* And even novice cooks can do this one. Go out and buy the best quality vanilla ice cream you can find (unless he ate it all, KP should still have some in his clean freezer). Let it thaw just a tad. Yes, I know... subjective... but it's part of the cooking game. Basically, a tad means anywhere from 15 minutes to about 1/2 an hour, depending on how warm your kitchen is. You don't want vanilla soup, you want a little harder than soft serve, maybe. Stir in a can of pumpkin pie filling and add whatever spices a good pie recipe calls for. You can put it back in a regular bowl or into your scrapped pumpkin if you want to refreeze. Your original ice cream container will be too small (unless he ate THAT much before you got hold of it)... the pumpkin container, well... sadly if you leave it out on the counter after you've refrozen the ice cream, it will thaw into a mushy mess. So, while attractive at first, maybe not the best option.
    (and there you have the longest comment I will ever make. You hope.)