Runners have so much to love about Fall. There’s the crisp, cool running weather, the multitude of fantastic full and half marathons, and, of course – the delicious Fall post-run treats. After an Autumn long run, I can usually be found sipping a pumpkin spice coffee or noshing on a pumpkin muffin (sometimes both). One of my favorite healthy (and quite addictive) Fall snacks is roasted pumpkin seeds. In addition to being crunchy and delicious, they’re actually packed with protein and potassium – both essential nutrients for runners.
How to Scoop and Clean the Pumpkin Seeds
Some people shy away from making their own pumpkin seeds because they don’t like dealing with the goopy, stringy pumpkin pulp. I felt the same way at one time but, once I made my first batch, I realized it’s actually not that bad AND totally worth it.
Once you have picked out a large pumpkin, here’s what you need to get started with the scooping and seed harvesting:
- A sharp knife
- A large spoon
- A colander
- Paper towels
Before you start scooping, preheat your oven to 300 degrees so it’ll be ready for your seeds when you’ve finished preparing them.
If you’re making a jack-o-lantern out of your pumpkin, cut a hole (about six inches) in the top of your pumpkin. If you’re using the pumpkin for other recipes, simple cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Start scooping the pumpkin flesh with a spoon (or your hands, if you want!) into your colander.
Separate the seeds from the big pieces of pumpkin flesh. You’ll still have some fibrous pieces of pumpkin pulp stuck to the seeds. The trick to removing them is to rinse the seeds, while in the colander, under cold running water. As you’re rinsing them, pull the remaining pumpkin pulp away from the seeds. Then remove the clean pumpkin seeds from the colander and spread them out on a paper towel. They don’t need to be perfectly dry – just give them a light pat-down and then put them in a medium-sized bowl.
How to Prepare and Roast Pumpkin Seeds
- Sheet pan
- Pumpkin seeds (whatever you scoop from one large pumpkin)
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- Olive oil (to grease pan)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 300 degrees, if you haven’t already. Some recipes may call for a hotter oven temperature, but I’ve found 300 degrees to be just right. (I say this after having burned a few batches of seeds over the years!)
- Lightly grease your sheet pan with butter or oil.
- For seasonings, I like salt and pepper, but you can use what you like. For sweeter seeds, you can add a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of sugar. If you prefer spicy, go with cumin and cayenne. Some people also like to add a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce for a kick. Whatever spices you use, combine them with the melted butter. Then drizzle the mixture on the seeds in your bowl. Stir it all up to make sure all of the pumpkin seeds are coated.
- That’s it! Now spread the seeds evenly on your baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring and tossing the seeds occasionally to ensure even baking.
- Cool, and store pumpkin seeds in an air-tight container. They should last for several weeks, although they never make it that long in my house!