Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pumpkins on Parade....

So today was the day to cook down the pumpkins and extract the seeds...since I already needed to have the oven on most of the day, anyway...and had purchased the rest of the "supplies" I needed (heavy whipping cream and things to make pie crust).

In a previous blog you will note that I gave instructions on how to prepare and cook pumpkins...well, let me just say that one pumpkin "cleaning" went off without a hitch but the OTHER one....I spent over 20 minutes just trying to cut it OPEN...and ended up with the entire front of my shirt covered in pumpkin and was SERIOUSLY considering going out to the garage to get my husband's ax.  Eventually, everything worked out, but baking/foil steaming pumpkins does take a long time...and a lot of checking.  They are currently cooling so that I can extract the flesh from the rind and then process it.  The seeds have been cleaned, soaked in salt water (that's my addition to the recipe) and are drying on clean paper towels....that's my recipe for to toast pumpkin seeds.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

When you are cleaning the seeds...separating them from the "string-y" parts of the pumpkins's easiest if you first put the seeds into a bowl of water.  They become easier to clean and separate that way.  I then soak mine in water with Kosher salt added for about 30-45 minutes and then drain.  Letting them sit in the colander for a while will help them to dry out, and you can even use a hair blow dryer if you want to!

Once the seeds are nice and dry, preheat your oven to 275 degrees.  Then spread the seeds out on a cookie sheet in a single layer and begin seasoning them.  There are many variations of this, but here are the most popular:

Spread the seeds evenly over a cookie sheet and lightly baste the seeds with melted butter, margarine, or vegetable oil.  There are many variations.  Here are the most popular, in order or popularity:
  1. Savory: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt and 2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
  2. Lemony:  4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon 'Mrs. Dash" or lemon pepper
  3. Halloweeny:  4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt,  and 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice.
  4. Spicy: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  5. Natural: 1 teaspoon sea salt or other salt, 4 tablespoons melted butter.
You can then roast the seeds in the 275 degree oven for 10-20 minutes, until golden brown.  Keep a close eye on them, checking them every few minutes and stirring them about every 5 minutes.  If your oven "runs hot" this process can take as little as 10 minutes, or as long as 30 minutes.  Remove them from the oven when golden brown, sprinkle with salt and let cool.  An alternative method is to fry them in deep oil for a few minutes, then drain and sprinkle with salt.

I know that this sounds like kind of a tedious process but (if you like pumpkin seeds) it is SO worth it.  

Today's food quote:  "When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers..'tis near Halloween"~~Author Unknown

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