How To Clean Pumpkin Seeds For Successful Roasting

Carving a pumpkin for Halloween is always a fun fall activity, but don't be too hasty and discard the filling from the hollowed-out inside. While it is a bit gooey, stringy, and messy, with a few tricks, there's a delicious treat to be had from those insides.

The key is to efficiently separate the stringy pulp from the seeds. Since they are so slippery, this isn't as easy as it sounds. Water will help with the situation, and it can be done in a two-step process. In a nutshell, use a large bowl full of water for the big goopy bits parts, and then rinse the seeds under running water with a colander for the remaining strings. 

Once you sort through, clean, and roast the pumpkin seeds, you will not only have a great seasonal snack but also a versatile and flavorful ingredient. After all, roasted pumpkin seeds can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. Why not try making a pumpkin seed pesto or even using them as a topping for pumpkin waffles?

How to clean pumpkin seeds: A two step process

There are two steps to thoroughly clean pumpkin seeds, and they both rely on a hearty dousing. First, simply place anything you scoop out from inside the pumpkin into a large bowl. Then, fill the bowl with more than enough water to cover the seeds and pulp. Swish the water with your hands to begin to release the seeds from the pulp. Some seeds will release easily while others will need a bit of rubbing to remove the stringy bits.

Next, place the separated pumpkin seeds into a colander. The seeds can then be rinsed under running water while using your fingers to help release any remaining pulp. The gentle pressure of the water helps get every last bit of the remaining gloop. Give the colander a good shake to drain off any excess water. Set the seeds aside on a towel to dry until you are ready to roast them.

Dry and roast the seeds for a seasonal snack

Now comes the fun part! Once all the seeds have been cleaned and the pulp removed, it's time to roast. Start by preheating the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Pat the seeds dry and place them on a large baking sheet. Drizzle the seeds with a small amount of oil or spritz them with cooking spray. Then simply season with salt to taste. 

Give the seeds a stir to make sure all of them are coated in a bit of oil and salt. Then spread the seeds out into an even layer and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes — or until they start to lightly brown and smell fragrant. It will be hard to resist, but allow the seeds to cool before grabbing that first nibble. Hot pumpkin seeds may sound delightful, but the sizzle on your tongue may be less so.

Of course, you can feel free to get creative with the seasoning beyond just salt. Savory spices, such as chili powder or smoked paprika, can add a spicy twist. Sweet additions such as cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or even a drizzle of maple syrup also pair well with pumpkin seeds. You may want to wait to dress them until they're done roasting, however, to prevent the more delicate spices from burning.