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The Green Life: 4 Ways to Spice Up Pumpkin Seeds

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October 24, 2012

4 Ways to Spice Up Pumpkin Seeds

Baked pumpkin seedsWhen carving a jack-o-lantern, sometimes all you want to do is scoop all the goop out and start sculpting your masterpiece. Stop right there. You're wasting the best part! Baked pumpkin seeds make a delicious snack. Bored with plain ol' pumpkin seeds? Then we've got a challenge for you. 

Try one of the four savory or sweet variations listed below to spice up this classic fall treat.

Four Unexpected Pumpkin Seed Flavors

Instructions:

First, if you've never baked pumpkin seeds before here are some basic instructions.

Separate the seeds from the innards of the pumpkin and throw them in a mixing bowl. Once all the seeds have been removed, pour them into a colander and rinse of the seeds thoroughly, making sure to pull out larger chunks of pumpkin that may be stuck to the seeds. 

Once they are clean, pour the seeds back into the mixing bowl and soak the seeds in 2-3 cups of water depending on the amount of seeds that you have. For each cup of water, add a teaspoon of salt.

Let the seeds soak while you finish carving your pumpkin (or for extra flavor, let them soak overnight). 

When you're ready to bake the seeds, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil, and after dumping out as much of the water as you can, transfer the seeds to your cookie sheet.

If you want to go the traditional route, add a few dashes of salt and pop them in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the seeds start browning. 

If you're feeling creative, this is when the real fun begins. After dumping out the excess water, head to your spice rack or cabinet and start sifting through for some spices you think might taste good on pumpkin seeds. For our experiment we tried the following:

SpicesGarlic & Basil Seeds: Use garlic salt and crushed up basil. Dried basil works well, and may be best to use given the nature of what you're cooking — you wouldn't want huge chunks of basil stuck to those smaller seeds. Add the seasoning just before popping them in the oven, and skip the extra salt as you won't need it. The flavor was amazing, but you may want to check them at 8 minutes versus 10 minutes to see how browned they've gotten. 

Sea Salt Seeds: There's something about using sea salt that brings out the true flavor in pumpkin seeds. You can bake these seeds at the 10-12 minute timeframe, keeping in mind to pull them out once they brown. We suggest going light on the sea salt though, you don't want to your seeds to come out too salty. 

Curry Seeds: Might sound a little weird, right? But these actually turned out to be pretty good! The taste of the curry powder isn't overpowering — it's really unique and has almost a smoky quality to it. 10-12 minutes should do it with these seeds, though if you pull them out and they still seem a little moist after cooling, just throw them back in for 2-3 more minutes and you'll be good to go. 

Cinnamon & Sugar Seeds: This one may take a little more finesse. The cinnamon and sugar version tends to brown quicker because the sugar gets caramelized. To avoid this, we suggest either baking them sans seasoning for half the time then adding the flavor in for the second half of baking. Or, if you want as much of the flavor to soak in as possible, try cooking at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time. Either way, do a test batch first — you wouldn't want to blacken all your seeds on the first round. 

Try one, try them all, or make your own concoction. Just make sure to separate your flavors. . . you wouldn't want to bake the curry seeds with the cinnamon and sugar variety because you might end up with an odd flavor combo

--Jess Krager

--Photo courtesy of iStock/KLSBear

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