Ready or not, it’s Autumn in New England. The Maple leaves are just starting to turn color. Not a lot, but just enough to let us know what’s lurking around the corner…winter….and from what I’ve read, it’s going to be a doozy with lots of ice and snow.
Autumn is my favorite time of year. You can smell it in the air…it’s different…it’s crisp. Day temperatures are still warm in the 70s and the night temperatures dip to the low 50s for perfect sleeping. And most important…the horrible humidity of August and September has finally left and the air is comfortable and dry. It’s the perfect time for long walks with Jack, our Airedale Terrier, to visit the horses he loves he loves to stare at and we take our time enjoying the weather.
Fall in New England is the time to close up gardens, complete painting jobs left unfinished, chop and stack firewood, tune up the snowblower, re-organize the garage and tuck all the outdoor patio furniture in the barn until next Spring. And while we still have roses and hibiscus blooming and are still harvesting fresh tomatoes and peppers every day, images of Halloween and pumpkins creep into my thoughts.
Speaking of pumpkins… There are pumpkin festivals to attend, scarecrows to make, giant pumpkin weigh-ins, pumpkin painting, haunted trails to enjoy and corn mazes to get lost in.
Click here to make something amazing today…my Homemade Pumpkin Pudding.
Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin smoothies, Shipyard Pumpkin Head beer and roasted pumpkin seeds…..ahhhh, oh yea!
Roasting Pumpkin Seeds
For a sweet or savory snack that’s relatively simple to prepare, try these suggestions when carving your Halloween pumpkin this year.
- Using a sharp knife or pumpkin carving tool, remove a section of the top of the pumpkin and set aside.
- Pull the seeds out with your fingers and then scrape the pulp out. This method is easier and faster than scooping out the pulp first and then trying to separate it from the slippery seeds.
- Rinse the seeds under running water, removing any lingering pulp.
- Soak the seeds in salted water for 8 to 48 hours. This process will deactivate enzyme inhibitors in the seeds that could possibly irritate your stomach. Plus, deactivating these enzymes allows the production of more vitamins in the seeds. Yes, pumpkin seeds have vitamins.
- Dry the seeds as well as you can with paper towels.
Health benefits of the tiny pumpkin seed
The pumpkin seed is a nutritional powerhouse when it comes to benefits:
- They contain heart healthy magnesium,
- Zinc…to boost your immune system, cell growth, sleep, eye and skin health, senses of taste and smell and more.
- They contain plant based omega-3 fats
- They support prostate health and can relieve menopausal symptoms
- Pumpkin seeds may help improve insulin regulation
- They are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants and fiber
⇒ To make your carved Halloween Jack-O-Lantern look fresher longer, try this: Before carving, wash the outside of the pumpkin with water mixed with a little bleach. Then rub Vaseline petroleum jelly on all the carved edges and spray water daily into each opening.
- Sprinkle the seeds with Kosher salt and you’re done
For a savory snack:
- Toss 1 cup of seeds with 1 tablespoon olive oil and then season with any of the following: Old Bay seasoning, Cajun seasoning, chili powder or garlic powder.
For a sweet snack:
- Toss the pumpkin seeds with a mixture of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- For a big, bold bite toss the seeds in hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce.
- Toss with other powder seasonings such as steak seasoning.
Let the Roasting Begin…
- Spread the seeds on a baking sheet in one layer.
- If desired, you can broil them, no more than 10 minutes though. Watch them carefully or they will burn. After 10 minutes they’re ready OR flip them over and broil the other side for another 10 minutes for a super crispy treat.
- If you’d rather, they can be baked in a 325 degree oven until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Flip and shake every 5-10 minutes so they don’t burn.
- Cool before trying to eat them or you will surely burn your tongue.
Here’s an idea…
Save some pumpkin seeds, spread them out on a baking sheet to dry for several days in direct sunlight. Store them in an airtight glass jar until next Spring when you can plant them in your garden.
Want to prepare your own Homemade Pumpkin Puree?
It’s not necessary as you can find organic pumpkin puree at most grocery stores. Farmer’s Market brand is USDA organic, is NON GMO and while it’s canned, the can lining is BPA free. Just look at the ingredients and you’ll see only one: certified organic pumpkin. I always have a can or two in the pantry which I can use any time of the year.
BUT, if you still want to prepare your own, I’ve got you covered…
To make about 3 cups, you’ll need a 2 pound or more sugar pumpkin(s). Cut pieces in large chunks and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast in a 350 degree oven until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly and when cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and put it into a food processor. Process until smooth. Place the puree in a sieve lined with cheesecloth and drain for several hours or or overnight.
⇒Straining is important if you want to make pies and baked goods. However, if you are using it for a sauce, chili, quinoa or risotto, you don’t need to strain it as much.
Want to read more about Autumn in New England? Click here: Season’s of New England, Part 2
I look forward to your feedback and comments, below. Do you have a favorite memory or special way to prepare roasted pumpkin seeds that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you.