The smell of roasting pumpkin seeds will always take me back to my childhood. I have a lovely memory, you know, a movie in your mind that will be with you forever. I was walking home from school on a very chilly, cloudy Halloween afternoon after attending my class party. As I approached our house I was filled with a sense of happiness and comfort at seeing the softly glowing lights shining from our windows.
We had pumpkins on our front porch and some paper ghosts in the windows that my sister and I had made. I knew my mom was home waiting for me, and I was excited because my sister and I were going to roast pumpkin seeds before we went trick-or-treating. When I opened the front door I was enveloped by our warm house and the wonderful aroma of dinner cooking on the stove.
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My mother is gone now, but I will put pumpkins on our front porch today in honor of her, and I will continue to carry on the traditions that she started so long ago for my own children.
The roasted pumpkin seeds of my childhood were simply pumpkin seeds tossed in vegetable oil and lightly salted. The new and improved version is a bit more adult with a sweet meets spicy flavor and can be used in salads or just eaten as an accompaniment to a dry martini. Heck, they’d be delish sprinkled over a chocolate brownie and caramel sauce! Well, you be the judge and have fun making this recipe your own.
I bought a small pumpkin which weighed in at just over 3 pounds and yielded ¾ cup of pumpkin seeds. As pumpkins vary greatly in size and seed amount you may need to double or triple this recipe.
Note: I wash the pumpkins seeds in a large colander under running water, this helps separate the seeds from the pulp. Discard the pulp and drain well. Spread the seeds out in a single layer on a clean dish towel (on the kitchen counter). Pat the seeds with another dish towel to absorb some of the water and let dry for ten minutes. While the seeds are drying, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
You will need-
A large spoon to scoop out seeds
Large cookie sheet lightly coated with vegetable oil spray
Prep time is about 10 minutes
Cook time is 28-30 minutes
Egg white from 1 large egg
1 tablespoon raw sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt or table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon cumin
Put the egg white in the bowl and whisk until frothy. Add the sugar and whisk until dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until well incorporated. Add the pumpkin seeds and stir to incorporate.
Pour the pumpkin seed mixture onto the baking sheet and spread out into a single layer with the help of the spatula. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. Wash and dry the spatula. Remove baking sheet. Use the spatula to separate the seeds into large sections so you can turn them over to bake on the other side. At this point you can taste to see if the salt amount is to your liking. If not, sprinkle with more salt before putting back in the oven. Bake seeds for another 3 minutes. Take baking sheet out of the oven and let cool to room temperature. Use your hands to separate seeds and serve.
Erin Walgamuth has been an assistant Food Stylist for television and print for the past 26 years and writes this column using her own recipes. Check out her other creations in our Hometown Recipe section.