How to Pick Pumpkins and Roast Pumpkin Seeds

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As many of you know, I’m the writer and Lisa’s the chef. So, it’s no surprise that I thought pepita was a reference to either the hideous font or to Pepita, a girl from 4th grade who wore matching rainbow suspenders and socks. Turns out, pepitas are pumpkin seeds, the superheroes of super foods. Here’s how to pick your pumpkin and maximize the powerful pepita.

PICKING a PUMPKIN

For carving Jack O’Lantern
All sides of the pumpkin should have smooth, firm skin with no soft spots, bruises or mold. As well, check that the pumpkin will sit level when upright.

For consuming Jack O’Lantern
Smaller pumpkins (8-10″ diameter) with a deep orange-colored rind are better for cooking as they have sweeter flesh. As well, a ripe pumpkin will be scratch resistant (try your thumbnail on the bottom) and when knocked on, will produce a hollow sound.

For extending the life span of Jack O’Lantern
Buckle up – don’t let your pumpkin roll around your trunk or the bruises will hasten the demise of Jack. Also, store the pumpkin in a cool, dry place, avoiding any exposure to frost.

ROASTING PUMPKIN SEEDS

Now that you have the perfect pumpkin, it’s time to transform the iron, protein and fiber-rich pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds) from chewy rubber to an addictive snack.

Lisa’s Sweet & Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Make sure you clean the seeds of all stringy pulp or they’ll burn in the oven. As well, if you have the time, let the seeds dry overnight before roasting – you’ll get more crunch for your munch.

2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1) Preheat oven to 250ºF. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

2) In a large bowl, toss pumpkin seeds with melted butter and Worcestershire sauce. Add brown sugar, salt, garlic powder and cayenne, mixing well. Spread seeds on prepared baking sheet and bake 50-60 minutes, until seeds are dry and golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely before storing.

Soy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp hot sauce, such as Sriracha
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin

1) Preheat oven to 250ºF. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

2) In a large bowl, toss pumpkin seeds with soy sauce, lemon juice, chili powder, hot sauce, cumin and salt, mixing well. Spread seeds on prepared baking sheet in a single layer and bake 50-60 minutes, until seeds are dry and golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely before storing.

Curry & Lime Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1) Preheat oven to 250ºF. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

2) In a large bowl, toss pumpkin seeds with olive oil, lime juice, curry powder, turmeric and black pepper, mixing well. Spread seeds on prepared baking sheet in a single layer and bake 35-45 minutes, until seeds are dry and golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely before storing.

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