Roasted seeds are a delicious bonus from your sugar pie, Halloween pumpkin, or winter squash. Lightly roasting the seeds will enhance the flavor and makes the husk edible. Enjoy your roasted squash and pumpkin seeds as is, or sprinkle on a salad or cooked vegetables.
Rinse the seeds well, pulling off the bits of stringy flesh. Discard any seeds that look flat, shriveled, or broken.
Boil 2 cups water with ½ cup salt stirred in. Add the seeds. This step softens the husks and keeps the seeds moist while infusing the salty flavor.
Stir often. Boil the seeds until they uniformly turn color – they look a bit gray as the salted water permeates the shell. This takes 7 – 10 minutes. Don’t worry; the gray color will disappear when you roast the seeds. Strain the seeds but do not rinse.
Air dry or spread on a cookie sheet and place in the oven at 275 degrees to reduce the surface moisture. Check often; this step is not meant to roast the seeds, only to dry the surface.
Remove from the oven and transfer into a bowl. Add about 1 tsp. of olive oil or melted butter, just enough to lightly coat.
Stir in about ½ tsp. of your favorite spices and mix well.
Savory: 1 dash of Worcestershire or soy sauce, salt, and lemon pepper.
Spicy: 1-3 dashes of hot pepper sauce or chili powder, salt, and pepper.
Garlic salt and a dash of paprika.
Sweet variation: boil in sugar water instead of salt, use butter not olive oil, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar for spice.
Transfer back to the cookie sheet and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees, just until golden brown. Lightly roasting will preserve more of the nutritional value of the seeds. Note: this cooking time is for dried seeds.
Enjoy warm from the oven or cool. Store at room temperature.
Sweet and salty: if you made a salty version sprinkle with a bit of sugar when they first come out of the oven.
Pepitas are pumpkin seeds without the shell. Use a heavy rolling pin or hammer to crack the shells before cooking. Add to a tall container and stir briskly. The shells will rise to the surface while the seeds fall to the bottom. Roast the seeds as directed above or in a skillet.