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Don't Throw Out those Pumpkin Seeds (And Other Pumpkin Recipes)

Frugal Parenting (featured column)
by Rachel Keller

Fall brings cooler days, colorful leaves, tasty pumpkins and winter squash. Families decorate pumpkins while enjoying pumpkin soups, stews and a variety of baked goods. And why not enjoy pumpkin? It’s high in fiber and a rich source of beta carotene, vitamin C, and potassium.

But before you toss out those seeds, did you know that they are a good source of protein, iron, B vitamins, vitamin E, and fiber? Pumpkin seeds are high in unsaturated vegetable oil, and one ounce of pumpkin seeds provides 3 milligrams of iron as well as 7 grams of protein, which is almost as much as an equal serving of peanuts. The seed coverings are high in fiber.

Pumpkin seeds are so easy to prepare. Over the past few years, I’ve roasted pumpkin seeds, and nearly every year, I try something different. Once you’ve roasted your own pumpkin seeds, you’ll probably never throw them out again! Here are several recipes and ideas for you to try.


First scoop out the seeds and wash them. (One recipe in my collection suggests leaving some strings and pulp on the seeds to add flavor.) You can dry out the seeds before baking, but it’s not necessary. If you don’t dry them, they will probably take a little longer to bake.

Some recipes recommend boiling the seeds in water (anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes in either salted or unsalted water) while others don’t. I’ve tried both boiling and not boiling, and the seeds turned out great both ways.

Either pumpkin or squash seeds work well for these recipes. For flavoring try salt, garlic salt, seasoning salt, curry powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, or whatever else you may like.

Lay the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet or jelly roll pan. I like to put a little olive oil on the pan and then spray some more olive oil on top of the seeds. However, you can also use melted butter or salad oil. Sprinkle with the seasonings of your choice. (For simplicity, I usually just sprinkle the seeds with seasoned salt.)

Bake the seeds at 250-275 for about an hour or until crunchy. (This may take longer than an hour.) Watch carefully and stir occasionally, about every 20 minutes to keep from burning.

Store the seeds in an airtight container. That is if you have any left to store. We always eat ours within a day because they are so tasty!

Here are some recipes I’ve collected over the years. Notice the wide variation on seasonings, preparation, oven temperature, as well as times to cook. You really can’t go wrong with pumpkin seeds!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds #1

Wash seeds from a medium pumpkin and pour onto a greased bar pan. Mix together the following and stir into seeds on pan:

1 1/2 T. melted butter
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. garlic salt
2 T. Worcestershire sauce.

Bake at 275 degrees for an hour stirring every 15 minutes.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds #2

2 c. pumpkin seeds
3 T. melted butter
1 t. salt
1 T. Worcestershire sauce.

Rinse pumpkin seeds and boil in salted water for 10 minutes. Dry seeds on paper towel. Combine Worcestershire sauce, butter, and salt in a bowl. Add seeds and stir until coated. Spread on baking sheet and bake 1 to 2 hours at 225 degrees until seeds are crisp. Stir occasionally and watch for burning.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds #3

Rinse 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin seeds, leaving some strings and pulp on for taste. Toss seeds in a bowl with 2 t melted butter or oil and seasonings of your choice (salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, seasoning salt, Cajun seasoning blend, etc.). Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes in a preheated 300-degree oven. Stir occasionally.

Baked Pumpkin Seeds

Wash seeds and spread to dry on newspaper. Scatter seeds on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a few drops of salad oil. Place in a 400-degree oven and reduce heat to 250. Bake 20 minutes. Stir and bake 20 minutes longer. Season with salt. Cool and store in a plastic jar.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Coat 1 cup pumpkin seeds with a mixture of 3/4 T peanut oil and 3/4 T melted butter. Spread seeds on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt to taste and toast in a 350-oven for 30 minutes until crisp and golden.

Curried Pumpkin Seeds

Thoroughly rinse seeds from a pumpkin and dry by patting between layers of paper towels. Combine the seeds with 2 T melted butter or olive oil, 2 t curry powder, salt to taste, and a dash of cayenne pepper (if desired). Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and roast in a 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.

Pumpkin Dessert Recipes

If you’re not carving your pumpkin for a fall decoration, you may want to use the pumpkin for some great desserts. I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch country and these recipes come from my Amish/Mennonite recipe collection. On all these recipes I reduce the sugar, usually by half and use either sucanat or honey. If you reduce the sugar or use honey, you may need to add extra dry ingredients or add some powdered milk if the batter or dough is too runny or too sticky.

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs, beaten at high speed for 5 minutes
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. pumpkin
1 t. lemon juice
3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger (opt.)
1/2 t. salt

Beat eggs on high for 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice. Add cinnamon and flour. Spread in a greased bar pan and bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Run a knife around the edges to loosen. While the cake is warm, invert and roll up in a towel sprinkled with 10x sugar. Cool completely. Unroll and spread with cream cheese filling. Reroll and refrigerate or freeze.

Cream Cheese Filling

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 T. soft margarine
1 t. vanilla
1 c. confectioners' sugar

Mix ingredients until smooth. Add nuts if desired.

Pumpkin Cake or Pumpkin Bars

Follow the above recipe for pumpkin cake roll, but instead of removing the cake from the pan and rolling, allow to cool and spread with the cream cheese filling. If you use the bar pan, you’ll have pumpkin bars. To make pumpkin cake, use a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

I grind my own oatmeal and mill fresh flour for these tasty cookies! I use less than half the recommended sugar because the chips add extra sweetness. I also add extra oatmeal and powdered milk to the cookies.

1 1/2 cup margarine
1 c. sugar
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
4 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
2 c. quick oatmeal
1 3/4 c. pumpkin
1 c. chocolate chips

Cream margarine and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until fluffy. Sift dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin. Stir in oatmeal and chocolate chips. Drop by spoon onto baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Yields approximately 10 dozen.

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Copyright © 2006 by Rachel Keller. All rights reserved.

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