Spicy Toasted Pumpkin or Squash Seeds
I’ve loved toasted pumpkin seeds since first bite. Their crunchy, toasty goodness was a revelation the first time I ate them. I’ll never forget that first Halloween crunch when I was a little girl. Since then, toasted pumpkin seeds have become yet another reason to look forward to the holiday.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve had mixed success with toasted pumpkin seeds as an adult. Sometimes, they come out perfectly. Other times, they come out chewy — disappointing and not worth the effort.
In my quest to recreate the crispy, crunchy, nutty seeds of my childhood, I’ve tried many different recipes. I’ve noted that there seem to be two different schools of thought when it comes to toasting squash seeds.
The first, and by far the most common, is also the easiest. Simply toss seeds in oil and salt and toast in the oven for about an hour. This is the method I’ve usually used, with hit and miss results.
The second school of thought recommends boiling the seeds in salty water first. I usually don’t go for the more complicated method of doing anything. But, this time, I decided it was worth a try if it would achieve the crispy, crunchy, nutty goodness I crave.
About the Recipe
This time, rather than relying on an internet search, I reverted to the book I consider my recipe bible, Joy of Cooking. When in doubt, this is my go to book. The thing I love about Joy of Cooking is that it offers you formulas for doing things. The thoughtful explanations in the book allow you to take a recipe to the next level or do other things with the same technique.
For instance, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that other winter squash seeds (butternut, etc.) could be toasted using the exact same method. This may seem obvious; but, it is an option I had never considered before! So, watch out, next winter I’ll probably be toasting every seed I can get my hands on!
I decided to spice my pumpkin seeds up with my Chesapeake Bay Seasoning Powder. However, Baharat or South African Style Curry Powder would have been equally good choices. Or, for the purest flavour, you can simply enjoy the pumpkin seeds with salt.
One tip is to dry your seeds on a clean dish towel or piece of gauze. I mistakenly thought paper towels were the ideal tool. However, the seeds stick to the paper and are a pain in the neck to remove. So, do as I say, not as I did and use a kitchen towel!
I hope your family enjoys these crunchy, spicy, homemade seeds as much as mine did. Bon appétit!