I try not to waste anything when I cook and pumpkin seeds are certainly no exception. My grandmother always roasted the pumpkin seeds out of our Jack-O-Lantern on Halloween and that is a tradition I have continued to this day. My Grandmother's method involved dry-roasting the pumpkin seeds without any added fat or oil, unlike most recipes you will find. This process is well-suited to the pumpkin seeds; they end up perfectly crunchy and have an incredibly delicious, nutty taste. I find the toaster oven creates an ideal cooking environment and I like not having to waste energy with my less efficient full-sized oven.
Not only are roasted pumpkin seeds delicious, they are also quite good for you. Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber and have many valuable nutrients such as zinc, manganese and magnesium. Pumpkin seeds are also loaded with healthy unsaturated fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds are a healthy snack you can feel good about indulging in!
Pumpkins come in many varieties and they all have edible seeds. Some have thick, papery white skins over them, some are hull-less. I find both types are very delicious roasted. Hard winter squashes, like butternut squash, also have edible seeds which can be dry-roasted. The amount of seeds inside a pumpkin or winter squash greatly varies from variety to variety. The amounts given below will all be for one cup of seeds, about what you will get from a small pie pumpkin. Just multiply by the number of cups of seeds in your particular pumpkin or winter squash to get the exact amounts of seasonings needed.
Heat your toaster oven to 275 degrees F. Scoop the pumpkin seeds into a metal strainer. Rinse the pumpkin seeds with cool water until clean and free of any stringy pulp or slime. Allow them to dry in the strainer for 15 minutes. Spread the seeds in a thin layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of good quality sea salt. Mix gently. Bake until thoroughly dry; this should take about 40 minutes. The pumpkin seeds have been baking too long if you start to hear popping noises. That is all you need for basic roasted pumpkin seeds. Below are two of my favorite pumpkin seed spice combinations. Just sprinkle the seeds with the spices along with the sea salt and bake in the same manner.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Spicy Tex Mex
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground dry cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried garlic
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper