Pumpkins are fantastic – they give so much deliciousness and pleasure at the same time! I (tried to) entertain my baby with my carving skills yesterday, but he was much more interested with the guts of the thing then anything else. The big reveal of the jack-o-lantern later on that night was met with polite interest – not the delight I was going for, but it’s okay. He’s young still. He’s yet to equate burning pumpkins with candy.
The most fun thing about carving pumpkins is what you do with the byproducts, like toasting pumpkin seeds. Toasted pumpkin seeds are addictive and also pretty healthy too. It’s better than snacking on a bag of chips, that’s for sure. Here’s how I went about making mine.
After the guts are removed from the pumpkin (a thanks to Lana for her tip on using an ice cream scoop to clean them out – works fantastic), you rinse off the seeds until no sign of stringy orange pumpkin goo remains.
Next, boil the seeds for 10 minutes in salted water. I read somewhere that it makes the seeds easier to digest, and makes for a crispier outer shell, all good things.
Dry the seeds off on a dish towel – they don’t have to be bone dry, just give them a pat. Then mix them with a tsp of olive oil and some salt. (Okay, I used garlic salt and just a hint of dried red chilies because I love that flavour mix.)
Spread them out on a baking sheet so there is little overlap between them. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Take them out and give them a stir. Put them back in for another 10 minutes. In the last five minutes, check on them to see how they are doing by taking a seed out and, once cooled enough, biting into in. Once cooked, the centre should be a nice golden colour. If they are brown inside, they have burnt. You can’t tell from looking at them from the outside, so you have to be extra careful, as you don’t want all your hard work to go to waste.
And once they are out of the oven and cooled slightly, they are ready to serve. See how long they last, even when they are on the pan. I swear to you, it is a compulsively snackable snack. Enjoy.
Here’s my jack-o-lantern this year. I was going for a mix of friendly and scary. I think he could look kind of mischievous, or like he’s in the middle of a hellish laugh. Either way, I’m a fan. And I’m glad that X wasn’t scared by him, that would have been so sad.
Word of the day:
Avuncular: of, pertaining to, or characteristic of an uncle: avuncular affection