Now that our daughter is 5, we’ve hit total Halloween mania. We lucked out that in the neighborhood we moved to is also Halloween crazy! My daughter, as with many many other kids, is going to be Else this year. I planned ahead and bought the costume in July. I’m pretty proud of myself. Our little town we live in has gone fall crazy, which I completely love. Growing up in Florida I never got to experience anything truly fall, other than school starting and college football season. I’m so in love with the leaves changing, the crisp cool air, and the fall festivals. I recently did my first corn maze. I must say, it was pretty awesome.
I remember as a kid toasting pumpkin seeds in my first grade classroom. My teacher, Ms. Mathews was fun and young, maybe even a first year teacher. I have fond memories of first grade, including those pumpkin seeds. For some reason that one activity has stuck with me over the years. I can’t toast a pumpkin seed without thinking of Ms. Mathews. A little unrelated anecdote, I remember one day at school Ms. Mathews told us a story of her attending a Michael Jackson concert over the weekend where she somehow obtained a napkin that he used to wipe his sweat. It’s such a strange memory to have, but I think my affection for Ms. Mathews, and all things Halloween may have started my MJ obsession. I do love me some “Thriller.” OK back to the pumpkins…
Last year we decided to toast the seeds from our pumpkins after we carved them, and I think its going to become a tradition. My daughter reminded us of the seed toasting and requested it again this year. So, as we prepared our pumpkins to become jack-o-lanterns, we saved the pumpkin “guts” (as my daughter calls it) in order to toast the seeds. This fall, for various reasons, we ended up at 4 different pick your own pumpkin patches. Of course we had to pick a pumpkin (or two) each time, so we ended up with 8 pumpkins. I saved the 3 smaller, sugar pumpkins for cooking, and we carved the others. My husband decided to use his power drill this year. Sigh….yep – we have a pumpkin on the porch that has holes drilled into it. We also have a pumpkin painted blue with rhinestones on it. Yep, a Frozen pumpkin.
As far as the seeds go, the hardest part of the process is cleaning them up. They are so gooey from the pumpkin “guts.” But once you’ve got them cleaned up, you simply boil them for about 10 minutes. The boiling step isn’t completely necessary, but if you want your seeds crunchy, I suggest boiling, it helps add the crunch when toasting. After they are boiled and drained, pat them dry. Then spread them out into a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. I used coconut oil for mine, but you could also use olive oil or grape seed oil if you don’t have the coconut oil. Then you can season them however you’d like. You’ll definitely want some salt, but you can also add some extra flavor. I added cayenne, cumin, and chili powder. Cinnamon and nutmeg would also be tasty. Anyhow, once they are seasoned pop them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are crispy.
Local Ingredient: Local pumpkins from the pumpkin patch and local salt from JQ Dickinson.