Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Don't toss the pumpkin seeds!

Monday night was a treat. I got to watch my husband and granddaughter carve a very traditional jack-o’-lantern. Sora decided to roll up her sleeves and dig her hands in the stringy orange pumpkin innards, searching for seeds she carefully dropped into a plastic bowl.

Reggie and I talked to her about jack-o’-lanterns and how her Great-Grandpa L.H. was always the pumpkin carver in the family. Reggie showed her how to notch the cut-out pumpkin top, matching it to a notch on the pumpkin, so he could easily replace it when the carving was done.

"Can I put it back on when we’re finished?” she asked. Of course, we told her. That’s the only way you learn.

Reggie told her it was her great-grandpa who had taught him how to notch it. Love, love, love these memories and traditions.

We started a new one Monday night, I guess. I have never roasted pumpkin seeds. I had planned to do it last year, but I didn’t tell Reggie that, and the seeds were tossed out with lots of gooey pumpkin slime and balled up newsprint.

I read several online recipes. The process is simple. You dry out the seeds in the oven, then add a little oil and seasoning and put them back in a little longer. That’s it! The result is a crunchy, nutty-flavored snack. And it’s a healthy one as well.

Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are a good source of zinc, fiber, iron and potassium.

The process of toasting them is very simple. So if you’re carving a jack-o’-lantern for Halloween, be sure to save the seeds and make a fun and healthy snack.

Editor’s note: The Wilson Times publication Wilson Woman would love to include holiday recipes from our readers for an upcoming publication. Please send to bhearn@wilsontimes.com or mail to Bradley Hearn, c/o The Wilson Times, P.O. Box 2447, Wilson NC 27894. Deadline is Friday.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning, such as salt, garlic salt, seasoned salt, cinnamon sugar (use butter instead of olive oil if using cinnamon sugar)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Remove pulp from pumpkin seeds and rinse in a colander. Pour pumpkin seeds in single layer on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or prepared with baking spray.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until dry.* Stir halfway through.

Remove from oven and toss with olive oil (it only takes a little) and sprinkle with seasoning.

Return to oven and cook for another 25 minutes until golden brown. Stir halfway through.

*Some recipes cook for an hour at a lower temperature, adding seasoning and oil at the beginning. I cooked mine as listed above.)

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