If you’ve tried the Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup or Organic Chicken and Pumpkin Warm Salad recipes, you might have some pumpkin seeds you want to roast. Here is a simple method for lightly frying and roasting pumpkin seeds to preserve their health nutrients, while still making them taste great.
Preparing Pumpkin Seeds for Roasting
First scoop out the pumpkin seeds from your pumpkin into a colander, washing them and removing as many stringy bits as you can. Don’t worry if a few remain. They’ll be easier to remove after a good soaking.
Actually, since I’m using pumpkin regularly now, I like to dry the seeds with a tea towel (don’t use paper towels – they stick to it) and keep them in a sealed container in the fridge. This way you only have to roast them when you’ve got the pumpkin seeds from two or three pumpkins ready.
Once you have enough pumpkin seeds, place them in bowl of water, perhaps salted with a little Himalayan crystal salt, and leave for several hours or preferably overnight. Next, strain them into a colander and dry them off with a tea towel again.
To start, before roasting, I like to give the pumpkin seeds a quick, light fry on a very low heat to infuse them with flavor and lessen the roasting time. In health terms, frying pumpkin seeds until they go brown would not be great for the structure of the healthy oils inside them.
Then again, neither would cooking them in the oven on high heat for long periods, as most roasted pumpkin seeds recipes call for. After a bit of trial and error, I believe this method gives the best balance of great taste while still preserving the health nutrients in the pumpkin seeds.
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds for Health and Taste
Take a small amount of healthy oil (around a teaspoon should do for half a cup of pumpkin seeds) and melt it on low heat in a small frying pan. And I’m really talking about a very low heat here, probably close to the lowest setting on your plate or burner – just enough to melt the oil. You really don’t want to have the oil smoking.
For the healthy oil, try organic coconut oil for a tropical flavor with curry powder or chili. Rice bran oil has a light, clean taste that goes well with herbs or crystal salt. And grass fed organic butter is good with garlic and most other flavors. Definitely don’t use margarine or unhealthy processed vegetable oils like corn oil. These are potentially damaging unnatural fats that should never be used in healthy cooking.
Lightly fry the pumpkin seeds on this low heat for only about 2 minutes, swirling occasionally. We’re just warming and softening them, not browning them. Add any spices, herbs or flavors you’d like to infuse the pumpkin seeds with and gently fry for another minute before removing them from the heat.
For flavors to add to the pumpkin seeds, salty and spicy combinations work well, like a splash of fermented soy sauce, or a sprinkling of curry powder. Garlic, chili and oregano are all good, as is a light dusting of cracked pepper and crystal salt. You can even come up with a few sweeter variations that are still relatively healthy. A small dash of honey and cinnamon was quite nice, though I do think roasted pumpkin seeds are better savory.
Once the pumpkin seeds are lightly fried, spread them out flat on a baking tray with some foil or non-stick baking paper. They’ll roast better if they’re flat and not clumped together too much.
Pop them in the oven preheated to just 170 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius) and cook for 25 minutes. I know this temperature is quite low but the browner and crispier you roast your pumpkin seeds, the less nutritional value they’ll have left in them. This method seems healthier to me.
The roasted pumpkin seeds taste great with this low heat method. They are perhaps not as crunchy as on high heat and you may get the occasional chewy one. But remember that the chewy hull is actually great digestive fiber and it’s fine to swallow down.
Truth be told, unless you’re eating a lot of pumpkins and making large batches, you’ll probably find it hard not to eat these roasted pumpkin seeds within the next couple of days, or even warm straight after making them.
If you intend to store them for longer than that, they will keep better in an airtight container in the fridge for several weeks. I suggest letting them come back to room temperature though before eating to properly enjoy them.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Online
If you don’t have the time or the pumpkins to roast your own pumpkin seeds, there are some great value raw and roasted pumpkin seeds online.
Raw, like this big bag of organic pumpkin seeds is healthier. But if you really prefer roasted, then Eden Foods have both spicy and low sodium pumpkin seeds that are good value on discount with lots of positive reviews.
Roasted pumpkin seeds make a simple, healthy, go anywhere snack and can be good to take to work to have instead of the usual junk foods on offer in most vending machines and corner stores. Try mixing them with other healthy nuts and seeds for some great flavors and a very satisfying mid-afternoon snack.