The BEST thing about carving pumpkins for Halloween, or making fresh pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, is the pumpkin seeds. I have always loved these, and can’t wait to roast them.
I have two different ways I roast pumpkin seeds. The first is a brine method, which needs at least 24 hours, and the second is a quick version — less than an hour from carving pumpkins to eating roasted seeds.
The reason I prefer the brine method is simple — the seeds last longer and taste amazing.
A brine is just a mix of water and and a lot of salt. You can use brines for everything from meats to vegetables. Traditionally, a brine was used as a preservative, as it inhibits the growth of bacteria. But a brine can also enhance flavors, and help meats stay juicy and tender. I’ll be using a brine again soon, when I prepare my Thanksgiving turkey, so I will talk more about brining then.
For this application, though, my intentions are to have a crunchy pumpkin seed, that is full flavored, with the salty goodness only a brine can bring to my pumpkin seed party. ;)
If you have time, do try the brine method. If not, the second option works well, too.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
First things first — prep the seeds:
Rinse the pumpkin seeds under cold water, removing the pulp and pulpy strings.
Option 1 – The long method. Using a heavy brine to salt the seeds
Create a brine, using 1 cup salt to 3 cups water (or more as needed with a ratio of 1 cup salt to 3 cups water) See note below) and add the pumpkin seeds. Mix well, and then allow this to sit overnight.
The next day, heat the oven to 325F. Drain the pumpkin seeds.
Place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a greased baking sheet (or a parchment lined baking sheet). Bake for 30-45 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.
*Note: This may take a bit longer than 35 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Add time as needed, until the seeds are done, up to about 20 minutes.
Option 2 – The quick method
Heat your oven to 325F.
Place the pumpkin seeds on a heavily oiled baking sheet. Stir to coat the seeds. Salt the seeds liberally, and then bake for around 25-30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes. *See note
Remove the seeds from the oven and allow to cool. Store in an air tight container.
- The times are not really exact, because the size of the seeds, as well as the density and moisture content of the seeds are all unknown variables. You might have huge seeds, or tiny ones. Just watch, stir, and see how it goes. Don’t be stuck to the timer, but rather be aware of how the seeds are baking.
- Brining – The ratio is 1 to 3. The more seeds you’ll have, the more you will need.
- 1 cup salt to 3 cups water
- 2 cups salt to 6 cups water
- 3 cups salt to 9 cups water