This time of year pumpkins are everywhere, and I can’t possibly get enough. There are pumpkin candles and pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkins for baking with and pumpkins for carving. You can get pumpkin butter to spice up your graham crackers or pumpkin shampoo to perk up your shower. If you, like me, love pumpkins, then this is when you indulge.
My girls love nothing more than scrolling through Google images to find the perfect inspiration for the pumpkins we carve each year. They look at spooky-faced pumpkins and princess-inspired pumpkins and scenes-from-a-movie pumpkin and then drag my husband and me to the store to find the perfect pumpkins onto which we can recreate their visions.
Several years back, arms-deep in pumpkin guts, my oldest inquired whether there was anything to be done with pumpkin seeds besides just tossing them in the trash. Honestly, before her innocent inquiry, I hadn’t given much thought to pumpkin seeds. We aren’t big into nuts and seeds at our house, so pumpkin seeds always went directly from inside a pumpkin to inside our trash can.
But that year, and now every year since, as we prepare our pumpkins for carving, we also prepare our seeds for roasting. Roasting pumpkin seeds has become a part of our October traditions. The girls love it because each year they experiment with the sugars and spices available in Mom’s kitchen. They mix and sprinkle and wonder whether their chosen concoction will taste good or not. We openly admit—we’ve roasted some pumpkin seeds through the years that have barely qualified as edible… But we’ve also hit upon a few staples that we turn to each year to make a healthier snack out of something we would have normally tossed.
Facts about pumpkin seed snacks
According to healthonline.com, pumpkin seeds are a tasty, healthy snack option. They are high in magnesium and antioxidants, and contain about 285 calories per cup (before any spices, seasonings or other add-ons). While they do contain a significant amount of fat, they also contain a high amount of protein. Consumed in moderation (and without too many additives), these are a great snack option to add to your diet!
If you like a sweet snack, try this one!
My girls’ most favorite way to enjoy pumpkin seeds is with cinnamon and sugar.
- Clean and air-dry the pumpkin seeds.
- Put them in a bowl and coat them evenly with coconut oil.
- Toss them in equal parts cinnamon and sugar. How much you use depends on how sweet you want the pumpkin seeds and how many seeds you are working with.
- Bake them on a foil-lined pan in the oven for about 30 minutes at 300 degrees.
I put these sweet treats in lunches and keep a stash in my purse all pumpkin season to satisfy my sweet tooth while still getting the health benefits pumpkin seeds offer.
Try this recipe for a savory treat
If you are a salty snacker, try my oldest’s favorite recipe: Worcestershire sauce and salt.
- Wash and dry pumpkin seeds.
- Coat in Worcestershire sauce.
- Add salt to taste.
- Bake on a foil-lined pan in the oven at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes.
These seeds are a little bit savory with just the right crunch to them! Other options we’ve explored: try sea salt or garlic salt instead of table salt; try Tabasco sauce with Worcestershire sauce (this gives them a bit of a kick!); try taco seasoning rather than salt.
Roasting pumpkin seeds is such a fun way to let kids experiment in the kitchen, discovering which flavors go together and which combinations to avoid. If your pumpkin seeds were trash-can bound anyway, let the kids get busy and create their own culinary masterpieces!