My sis came over to carve pumpkins last night.
I heard a few gasps, telling my friends. Tonight? As in, Who carves pumpkins three days before Halloween? Two days is apparently the socially acceptable limit.
Which means I know what recipe you’ll need tonight.
Oh, come on. It isn’t that hard. You just slice the top off your pumpkin, then instead of staring at the thing, willing it to infuse you with instant artistic talent and creativity, you stick a hand in – sleeves rolled up, please – and gently mine the slinky pumpkin shreds for all the slimy seeds. Three big pumpkins’ worth should give you a bit more than three cups of seeds. A good soak in warm, salty water cleans them of any extra orange goo, and after a quick blot, they’re ready for the oven.
See? You don’t need to throw them away.
Since the seed haul from every pumpkin is different, you might have to play with the ingredients a bit here – I scraped my seeds from 3 large pumpkins, being diligent with the first two and a bit lazy with the last. But play you should. I’ve added my favorite pumpkin pie ingredients (maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom), but a few pinches of clove, nutmeg, or allspice certainly wouldn’t hurt.
TIME: 10 minutes prep (not including seed excavation)
MAKES: 3 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin seeds
3 1/2 cups raw fresh pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Place the seeds in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the salt and add hot water to cover. Let sit for 4 hours (or overnight), until the seeds are puffy. Scoop the seeds off the top of the water, avoiding any leftover pumpkin bits, and transfer them to a large tea towel. Use another towel to pat them mostly dry – they’ll still be a bit slimy, but do what you can.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Transfer the seeds to a large mixing bowl, and stir in the olive oil and maple syrup. Blend the remaining ingredients, plus the remaining teaspoon salt, in a small bowl, and sprinkle the mixture over the seeds as you stir them. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then spread the seeds on the baking sheets in a thin layer.
Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating sheets and stirring seeds once or twice, or until browned and crisp. Remove seeds from the oven, sprinkle immediately with additional salt, and let cool on baking sheets. Break seeds apart and enjoy, alone or on salads. Store cooled seeds in an airtight container.