Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Jack O’ Lanterns

One of our favorite family traditions is selecting and carving The Pumpkin, then roasting the seeds. This year we went to Riverbend Farms. There was a $5 per person charge to enter the farm. They are making some serious dough! We’ve had more fun at other farms that don’t charge an “entry fee”. (Next year we’ll go back to Hodges Farm on Rocky River Road.) But we all had a good time. They had some fun slides (fun for adults too), some animals (turkeys, buffalo, goats and more) and some old farm equipment that has been turned into a playground of sorts. I hear they sell ice cream, but we skipped that. There’s also a hayride through the huge pumpkin patch, where we accomplished our goal of finding The One. And then some. They had several varieties of gourds so I chose a few interesting ones.

The girls do all the dirty work, literally. I cut. They scoop out the slimy pulp.

Haleigh wore gloves. Linsey scoffed, “Gloves? Really!? Pshh…”

The girls put the muck and seeds into a bowl. They can’t resist squishing the “guts”, and I let them because it makes it easier to separate the seeds from the pulp later.

This year we carved two pumpkins and had a ton of seeds, so I made them two ways – salty and sweet. Here are my recipes:

Ingredients for Traditional Pumpkin Seeds

  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • salt
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder

Ingredients for Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds:

  • 2 tbs melted unrefined coconut oil (or butter if it’s all you have)
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • ginger
  • allspice
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°.  Remove large chunks of pumpkin and as much of the strings as you care to. Leaving some of them won’t hurt anything and will even enhance the flavor, if you ask me. Pour them out on a towel and dry them a little.

This will also help remove more of the strings. Combine the seeds, butter or coconut oil and spices in a bowl and mix well. Spread them out in a single layer onto a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes. If you can remember, stir them around once or twice. I forgot, and they turned out just fine.

Pumpkin seeds have excellent health benefits. They are rich with antioxidants, loaded with minerals and can reduce bad cholesterol and may also lower blood pressure. There’s no need to remove the outer shell. Roasting makes them crispy and edible. The hull contains lots of fiber and all the flavor. I preferred the sweet ones, of course. But the sugar content negates some of the nutritional benefits. The unrefined coconut oil imparts a very light coconut flavor on the seeds. (Great for popcorn too.) Mmm…

Store them in air tight container on the counter for about a week or in the refrigerator for up to two months. They only last a few days in our house. They are great sprinkled on salads.

And here are the Jack O’ Lanterns:

Linsey said “Uh oh! You forgot the noses!” Nope. One less thing to carve and more room for a big mouth!

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About Michele
Wife and Mom of three girls doing her best to lead the family into a healthier lifestyle and evolve gracefully.

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