Pumpkin seeds are a fall staple at the Blackboard Kitchen house.We love them for snacking, sprinkling on salads, and snacking. Oh - and did I mention that we like to snack on them? We do, in case you were wondering. Ava is always at her cutest (and no, that does not mean that she is skulking under the kitchen table, like she was in this photo) when there are pumpkin seeds around. She is not allowed any pumpkin seeds, though, as she mostly prefers to swallow them whole. Weird dog. We, however, do not swallow them whole and so we love pumpkin seeds for their crisp, crunchiness and amazing flavor.
The first time we made pumpkin seeds was a couple months into our dating relationship. Jason, who lived in Texas, flew out to visit me here in Colorado. We picked up a pumpkin from a nearby nursery (for plants, not babies) and had a grand old time carving it up and roasting its seeds. We named the pumpkin Max and have remembered it fondly ever since. A few photos of the event, for old times' sake... (Check out Jason's faux hawk and my super short hair! Ahh, we were so young and in love 😀 )
That was five years ago, and we have made pumpkin seeds in the fall every since. Our first pumpkin seed recipe was found on foodnetwork.com and it is the same recipe (Emeril Lagasse's) that we still use today.
Olive oil, for drizzling
Essence, recipe follows
To make essence:
2 ½ tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tbs. garlic powder
1 tbs. black pepper
1 tbs. dried oregano
1 tbs. onion powder
1 tbs. cayenne
1 tbs. dried thyme
Combine all spices in a small, sealable bowl (like a tupperware) and mix well. This will make about ⅔ cup, which you can save and use for all sorts of other cooking adventures. I like to use essence to season potatoes, meat, and I often use it in breading mixes when I bread fish. In fact, the Week 16 Menu will have shrimp po'boys on it, and we'll use this seasoning in our breading mix!
To make pumpkin seeds:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Harvest the seeds from a pumpkin (or two, or three, depending on how many seeds you want to make). Rinse the seeds clean of any pumpkin flesh.
Lay the seeds in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until golden brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Eat as many as you can while they're still hot and burn your tongue. Then settle down, let the seeds cool, eat a bunch more, and then store whatever is left in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.