Hey pumpkin carvers: Stop. Wait. Don't waste all those yummy seeds! (Happy Halloween, by the way.) You can save those seeds from ending up in the garbage can with 4 easy steps:
1. SOAK THE SEEDS in water for a few hours. Fill a bowl with water, drop in the seeds and rub them between your fingers to start loosening up any attached pulp. Don't worry about getting every last bit off, because soaking them for a while makes it easier to rub all the pumpkin-ey pulp off later.
2. DRY THE SEEDS on a towel for a few hours, or until they are dry to the touch.
3. SEASON THOSE SEEDS with whatever's on-hand and sounds yummy. Sweet and savory both work well — be creative. (Our friend Kim Wallace, over at Natural Home magazine has a step-by-step recipe for sweet cinnamon-n-sugar pumpkin seeds.) Using a little bit of honey or oil will add flavor and help herbs and spices stick well. For the pumpkin seeds I made as a salad topping (see below), I tossed the dried seeds in extra-virgin olive oil (Global Gardens 2007 Harvest first cold press, a wonderfully fruity and aromatic premium olive oil) and Maine Coast Sea Vegetables organic kelp with cayenne pepper blend (one of my long-standing favorite seasoning blends).
4. ROAST THE SEEDS in a 300-degree-Fahrenheit oven for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them: They'll be done when they're golden to light brown.
Crunchy seaweed- and cayenne-spiced roasted pumpkin seeds make a fabulous topping for a fresh arugula salad, and counterbalance the sweetness of crispy cucumber and pear slices.
More pumpkin know-how: Grilled Pumpkin with Rosemary and Sea Salt * Pumpkins Make any Dish a Smashing Hit * 7 Great Pumpkin Carving Tips * Wacky and Wonderful Halloween Pumpkin Designs * Three Phunky Pumpkins * The Great Pumpkin * The Great American Pumpkin * Make a Jack-'O-Lantern ... And Eat Pumpkin Pie, Too! * About Pumpkins * Beer America TV Pops the Top on a Pumpkin Lager
Photos by Tabitha Alterman