The first time that I had toasted pumpkin seeds was in elementary school. I specifically remember my 1st grade teacher having us bring in seeds and toasting them – by which I mean watching her toast them – in the school’s kitchen. I don’t remember how they turned out, but it sure was fun. These days, I’m not even sure if you’re allowed to celebrated Halloween in some schools, let alone eat toasted pumpkin seeds. It’s unfortunate, but at least it doesn’t take away the opportunity to make them at home.
The most difficult part of toasting pumpkin seeds, in my opinion, is getting them out of the pumpkin. This step requires that you carve the pumpkin, scrape out the pulp and separate all the seeds. It’s messy and it can take quite a while, depending on the makeup of your pumpkin. The toasting part itself is very easy and there are two ways to do it. The first is to do a long, slow roast with the oven at a low temperature. The second is to quickly cook them at a higher temperature. Some people swear by the first method, but I like the second (Elise uses a high-temp method, too). It is at least as effective – if not moreso – as a slow cook and you get to eat much sooner.
Cooking time will vary from batch to batch because pumpkins can have very differently sized seeds. I like to use sugar pumpkins, which are small and contain a relatively smaller number of seeds, but if you have a lot you might want to bake a test batch to get the timing perfect.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss clean, dry pumpkin seeds in a bowl with a small amount of vegetable oil, just enough to coat, and toss with salt. Arrange in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.
Cool on a wire rack or by stirring in a mesh sieve.