Tuesday, October 19, 2004

for halloween, roasted pumpkin seeds

well, everyone seems to have a favorite roasted pumpkin seed recipe, and i'm no exception. working at the pumpkin patch, we get to harvest a lot of seeds from damaged pumpkins, and from ones that we carve as displays. this recipe comes from my portuguese ex-sister-in-law, and i have to say that these are the very best of all the different recipes i've had.

  • pumpkin seeds, with most of the membranes (guts) removed. don't get anal, because some of the stringy stuff mixed in with the seeds gives them a little extra flavor

  • enough cooking oil/olive oil (your call. olive oil is good, but corn oil tastes better for some reason) to coat seeds

  • yellow corn meal

  • garlic powder (in a pinch) or a couple of cloves of garlic, crushed and minced (recommended. almost always better to use fresh stuff when cooking)

remove seeds from the pumpkin. clean off most of the stringy stuff, but leave some on for flavor and texture. when you eat these, you'll understand. place in a non-metalic bowl, and cover with enough water to insure everything stays submerged. add salt to make a brine. i usually only use about a tablespoon per quart,but if you are a salt freak, load it up! let seeds soak for at least a couple of hours.

remove seeds from brine, and pat dry with paper towels. dump the brine, then put the seeds back in the bowl. sprinkle enough oil over the seeds to coat by adding a little oil, toss the seeds, add a little oil, toss the seeds, until they are completely coated, but not dripping with oil. hey, we're trying to make a healthy snack here, not a fat fest! the good thing about corn oil, or olive oil, is that they may have fats, but no cholesterol.

dump about a 1/2 cup of corn meal into a paper bag,or at least enough to coat the seeds if you have a lot, add the garlic, a pinch of salt, and shake to mix. next add the seeds, shake and coat with the meal mixture, using whatever excess energy you may have that day to shake to your favorite music. better yet, have the kids do it.

place seeds on a cookie sheet, and put into a 300 degree oven. it's ok to dump the extra corn meal mix on the sheet, because that'll just add a little extra flavor when you pull the seeds off at the end. i've messed this up before, thinking that i could hurry the process up by going hotter, like 400 degrees. WRONG. all i ended up with was a bunch of overly crisp, bitter organic material, with little to no resemblence to food. low and slow, that's the secret.

check on them every 10 minutes or so, stirring them around on the cookie sheet to turn them over. keep an eye on them, stirring often enough to get golden brown, but not over about 30 minutes or so, else, see above.

pull the cookie sheet out and let the seeds cool. if you are doing a bunch of them, like we do, we put them into a glass jar and seal AFTER they have cooled all the way down. usually they don't last long enough to make it to the jar.

VARIATIONS of a THEME: you can skip the brining step, and add your favorite flavored salt to the meal mixture, such as onion salt, garlic salt, mrs. dash, tony's cajun seasonings, lowry's season salt.....on and on, limited only by your own imagination, and pantry.

edit: another variation. DO NOT WASH OR BRINE, lightly sprinkle corn meal on bottom of cookie sheet. spread seeds and top with the minced/crushed garlic. roast at 325F for about 35 to 45 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes to keep from burning. less gritty, and the kids seem to like them better this way. i like the others, but that's personal preference.


Blogger Alison said...

These sound delish, waaaaay better than the way I usually make them. Thanks!

10/22/04, 12:46 AM  
Blogger Allan said...

You're going to make me buy a pumpkin.

10/22/04, 4:34 PM  

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