roasted pumpkin seeds

Saturday, October 23, 2010
Like most families around this time of the year, I was searching for the most beautiful, round pumpkin with the greenest, knobbiest stem on top.

My goal was look for the prettiest along with the heaviest. To me, heavy means full of seeds. I don't know if there is any validation to that, but for now I'm going with it.  After work, I went to a local farmers market and found my perfect pumpkin. It had a nice smooth front face, the stem was not centered in the top of the pumpkin, more towards the back but to me it was perfect. The best part, it was heavy.  Trust me, I noticed it when I carried it up 3 floors to get to our apartment.

After washing and cutting the top off the pumpkin, I looked inside it's hollow, stringy center and it looked kind of empty. Being the optimist I am, I shrugged it off and assured myself that my pumpkin selection was excellent and this thing would be chock-full of seeds one I started emptying it's innards. 

Let's just say I'm removing myself from pumpkin selection duty since this pumpkin yielded minimal seeds. I didn't completely fail since I did end up getting a small bowl of seeds, but it was not the massive bounty I was looking for. Of course I still carved a design into the pumpkin and it currently sits on our patio, waiting for darkness so it can glow from the inside out. 

I want to try this again. I need to satisfy my craving for crunchy, salty pumpkin seedy goodness and I'm afraid with my husband, this small bowl will not last very long. It's not as if pumpkins are in short supply right now, they're freaking everywhere.  I just need some help with determining which pumpkins will give me the most seeds or is it a complete gamble and to be safe I need to buy 12 pumpkins and be up to my elbows in pumpkin goo for 12 hours straight?

Suggestions, tips and advice to prevent me from going on a pumpkin buying bender would be greatly appreciated.

p.s.  I made muffins too.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

rinsed and dried pumpkin seeds 
2 teaspoons melted butter or olive oil
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss pumpkin seeds, butter and salt in a medium sized bowl. 
Spread seeds in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until golden brown and snap when broken.

Other seasoning choices

- garlic salt and pepper
- chili powder
- parmesan cheese, basil and pepper

Sugar-free grain muffins

[adapted from 500 cupcakes]

1 cup mixed grain cereal*
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoons honey
pinch of salt
1 lightly beaten egg
1/3 cup melted and cooled butter

In a medium bowl, mix cereal and water. Set aside for 20 minutes for the grains to swell.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan**. In a medium bowl sift the flour and baking powder.

In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, salt, egg and butter. Slowly add the flour and the cereal and mix well.

Scoop mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes***, remove pan from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins and cool on a rack

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

* I used Red River cereal
** This recipe said it makes 1 dozen but I got a full dozen plus 12 mini muffins. I would say it makes closer to 18 muffins
*** Bake the mini muffins for 12-14 minutes.