Carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns always brings back memories of my dad’s house and the crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds he would make. We didn’t use patterns, and we didn’t carve fancy designs into our pumpkins. It was all silly faces and gloppy pumpkin guts. Dad would supervise, clean the seeds, and a while later we would have freshly roasted pumpkin seeds. I’m pretty sure they had just oil and salt on them. I don’t know why this tradition ended, but I don’t have any pumpkin-carving memories to span the last 15 years. I probably became too cool to engage in such juvenile activities. Along with the missing jack-o-laterns from my memory are the missing roasted pumpkin seeds.
In my current zeal for pumpkins and the flavors they yield I thought I’d add more of this seasonal gourd to my adult memory bank. So I tricked my boyfriend into carrying a few heavy pumpkins from my underground parking spot up to my second floor apartment, and then I carved the pumpkins myself. I guess he doesn’t need any new pumpkin memories. Using my large slicing knife, I sliced through the top of pumpkin number one. It took me longer than it should have, and didn’t seem like the safest activity. Thankfully, I remembered that I bought a carving kit last year after Halloween (I’m a big after-holiday discount shopper). You know what, those teeny tiny plastic-handled saws work great! Cutting off the top of pumpkin number two was much easier, quicker, and safer. I scooped out the slimy guts, cleaned off the seeds, and set them out to dry. While they were drying I got to work on my fabulous pumpkin faces. C’mon, just look at that work of art! I will totally give you some carving lessons if you want!
I made some roasted pumpkin seeds with just salt and enjoyed the toasty goodness. However, I’m a chef, and I couldn’t let all my classic training go to waste for the sake of preserving childhood memories. Naturally, I made a big mess in my kitchen and came up with three spice combinations for more flavorful roast pumpkin seeds. Okay, so I’m not the first person to combine cinnamon and sugar, but after my first two spice concoctions, I just couldn’t resist. Cinnamon and sugar make my taste buds happy, and happy taste buds make a happy Daisy.
So carve some pumpkins and roast some seeds this weekend! Then go buy some discount pumpkins after Halloween and do it all again so you’ll have toasty deliciousness in your kitchen at least through Thanksgiving! Maybe I’ll even share some more ideas of how to use those toasted pumpkin seeds.
After you’ve scooped the guts out of your pumpkins, pick out the seeds and place them in a colander. Rinse them under water, making sure to remove all traces of pumpkin guts. Dry the seeds well with a towel, or lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet and allow to air dry. My carving pumpkins contained about 2 cups of seeds each. I haven’t tested it, yet, but I have heard that pie or sugar pumpkin seeds roast quicker and are more crunchy.