It's that time of the year again! We are surrounded by pumpkins and squashes. I love it! The stunning and vivid colors of the various members of the squash and gourd family, their incredibly luscious texture, the warmth of the food made using them, ahhhh! Just makes you feel all warm and snuggly.
But first, Halloween. I'm pretty sure I'm not entirely alone when I say that I dreaded Halloween before kids. I hate dressing up (makes me feel stupid) and we were always invited to these Halloween parties with the cruel 'costumes required' line on the invitations. Great! Oh how I detested the pressure tactic...but on a happy note, now that we have kids, I actually love Halloween. Kids are a whole another beast. No matter what you put them in, they look adorable. And the neighborhood we live in goes gangbusters at Halloween. It really is a lot of fun. So see, here is another perk to having kids :-) Oh! and for the record. I still hate wearing a costume....
So, anyway, we began the pumpkin carving process yesterday. The boys went and picked out a pumpkin each and went about hollowing them with great gusto! They must be growing up, because once I had the top off, they took care of it almost totally by themselves (and had a blast doing it!).
We ended up with just over 2 cups of pumpkin seeds. In the past years I have washed the seeds before roasting. I used to also boil them for 5 minutes to soften the shells, but honestly, I think that is a waste unless you used some humongous pumpkins (and thus the seeds are very tough). Ours were around 10 lbs and incredibly fresh, so I roasted them just as is, no washing, no boiling. And I think this is my best effort yet. The little bits of pumpkin-y goodness on the seeds adds such wonderful color and flavor to the seeds. And it saves you time.
So please, take 10 extra minutes after you hollow out your jack-o-lanterns and stick the seeds in the oven. In an hour, you'll be rewarded with a special treat.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp butter
1tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 300F. Clean any large bits of pumpkin flesh that is sticking to the seeds. Some pumpkin will stick to the seeds and that is perfect.
2. Melt butter in a large bowl. Add oil, salt, and garlic powder. Toss in the seeds and stir well to coat.
3. Line a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Spread the seeds evenly across the pan. Roast for approx. 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring the seeds every 20 minutes or so. Keep a close watch once you reach the 1 hour mark, as the seeds can go from roasted to burnt pretty quick. Your nose should guide you when they are done -- the aroma is irresistible.
4. Cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to a week (if they last that long).