I’m not young. I’ve been toasting pumpkin seeds for, well, decades. And I’ve often been disappointed by the results.
But I think I’ve finally figured it out. The secret is to sauté the seeds in melted butter (or oil) before roasting them. It keeps them from drying out, and the butter adds some nice flavor. Ergo:
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Clean the seeds. There’s a lot of heated and heartfelt debate over how clean to clean one’s pumpkin seeds. Leave bits of the pumpkin meat on them? Make them spotless? That’s something I’ll leave between you and your seeds.
- Melt some butter in a frying or sauté pan. Low to medium heat. I tried olive oil once, since it’s supposed to be all healthy and stuff. It worked fine, but the final taste was more “delicate.” No clear rules on how much butter or oil. Enough to cover the seeds, I guess. No rules on how long to sauté them. I ususally go for about three minutes, stirring the seeds a lot. They seem to enjoy it.
- This is when you sprinkle on the salt or cinnamon or whatever you fancy. Stir them again. The butter/oil is your friend here. Again, the seeds are having fun.
- Spread those happy seeds on a cookie sheet and slide them into the oven. The middle rack is probably wise. Here’s where timing becomes important. It seems like every recipe I’ve found leaves them undercooked, but maybe I’m overcooking them. Anyway, I roast them for 15 minutes, take them out and flip them with a spatula as best I can, and put them in for another 15 minutes. Use your best judgment. Be mindful of your seeds. They only want to make you as happy as they are.
- Let them cool. Eat them. Try not to eat too many at once — make them last. Fail at this goal buhcause they’re yummy!
Feel free to add your tweaks or tell me about your results in the comments below. (Oh yeah, and buy my books!)