If you've got any left over pumpkins from Halloween or Thanksgiving and you haven't opened them up yet, here's a good recipe for the seeds inside. You can cook them lots of different ways, or even use them in another recipe; this is just a simple way to bake them in the oven and have something to snack on.

  1. Cut open your pumpkin or pumpkins with a knife; make it about nine inch diameter circle.
  2. Remove the seeds with your hand; pumpkin guts won't hurt you. Don't use a spoon, it's just a waste of time that way.
  3. Once all of the seeds are removed, place them in a colander and rinse them under running water. Be sure to get rid of all the fibers and other material attached to the seeds.
  4. Take the seeds out of the colander and place them in a towel (paper towels will work]); dry them well.
  5. Now place the seeds in a bowl and toss them with about one tablespoon of olive oil.
  6. Place the seeds in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet; preheat your oven to 350 degrees (farenheight.)
  7. When the oven has reached the proper temperature, put the baking sheet with seeds in.
  8. Bake until the seeds turn a golden-brown color, stirring them around every few minutes; watch them carefully because they brown fast (10-15 minutes.)
  9. When seeds are fully baked, remove the baking sheet and let cool for 5-10 minutes; or until they are cool enough to handle with your bare hands.
  10. Place in another bowl and toss them with your favorite seasonings adjusted to your taste (salt and cinnamon work great.)
  11. Serves one because they're so damn good!

I've got a lot of pumpkin seeds lying around lately because of all the baking. Squash seeds in general, actually. I'm posting this quick note as I do it a little differently than Zeolite. My pumpkin seed aesthetic is a little different and I figure options are always good.

Firstly, some pumpkins do not have large, loose, goopy, slippery cavities. All squash are somewhat slimy/sticky when cut. They start to ooze on their cut surfaces, and the juices are slick, then sticky, then resinous as they dry. Still, when I was working with kabocha and cheese pumpkin this weekend, they had dense, almost hard, cores packed with seeds and a firm mass of stringy fibers. I had to dig out these masses of seed and pulp with a knife. Reclaiming the seeds was a matter of picking through the pulp and separating them from their little umbilical fibers. It is not necessary to clean off every last speck of pumpkin guts, but rather to remove the majority of the pulp, eliminating clumps and mostly separating the seeds. No matter what, it's a messy process best done with bare hands and abandon. Squish softer pulp until it spits out the seeds and fish out the chunks. Avoid squirting seeds across the room.

Next, briefly rinse the seeds in water and drain them. Sprinkle the wet seeds with salt or whatever seasoning you desire, how about some celery salt and chili powder? Stir them around to distribute and then spread them out into a thin layer on a jelly roll or other shallow baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper. The paper is optional, but it keeps the seeds from sticking to the pan. Bake at 350°F until they are dry and ivory in color. You don't need to preheat the oven. Simply put the pan in the cold oven and turn it on. Check when the oven reaches 350°F, and check it every 5-10 minutes after that. Actual time will depend on the size of the seeds and how many there are. Be careful not to burn them, as the shells bake slower than the seeds they protect. Taste as you go if you're unsure, they should be toasty and crisp without tasting either raw or burnt. Because of the salt and the pumkin residue, the seeds will tend to stick together a bit. Stir them around with your hand as they cool to break them up. Let them cool completely before storing.

Ideally, these seeds have a bit of pumpkin juice and fine fibers still clinging to them. These bits of pumpkin will dry out and brown, and add sweetness to the seeds. I like to eat thin shelled seeds whole, popping them shell and all in my mouth a few at a time, and crunching through the whole things. The caramelly sweetness of the pumpkin is particularly pleasant when they are eaten this way.

Note: Only bake seeds of a similar size together. For example, avoid baking acorn squash seeds with cheese pumpkin seeds (which are about twice the size), as the smaller seeds will burn before the larger ones are done. Also, use extra care if you bake them in a toaster oven. Toaster ovens tend to have hot spots and you will need to watch the seeds carefully and stir them as well.

drownzsurf says re Baked pumpkin seeds: I use sea salt and cayenne powder.

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