We have had so many pumpkins in the garden this year. They have trailed themselves across paths, down walls (with the pumpkins hanging on for dear life) and jostled for space with the other veg (they have won, hands down). We have grown pumpkins for several years, but I have always scooped the seeds out and chucked them into the chicken pot*. What was I thinking? Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious. The transformation is startling. If you are tempted to try a seed part of the way through cooking, when you think they might be done, you will be bitterly disappointed and think that I have gone mad telling you to make these. But if you wait until they caramelise then you will understand. Something happens in their chemistry that makes you think you added crushed chilli when you weren’t concentrating properly. Be warned, these little bites are addictive and you will find yourself cooking with pumpkin just so you can eat the roasted seeds.
This weekend, when every one will be scooping out their Halloween pumpkins, is the perfect time to enjoy these. By the way, when did we move on from scooping out swedes?
I don’t bother washing the seeds as I think bits of pumpkin flesh hanging on to them add a lot to their flavour. I scrape them out, remove most of the flesh, lay onto a lightly oiled baking tray so that they are in a single layer and sprinkle with a little more oil and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place into a preheated oven at 140°c, gas mark 1 or the simmering oven of the Aga and cook for about 30-40 minutes. Keep an eye on them as the ones at the edge of the tray may start to burn and will need stirring into the middle. When they have a good caramel brown colour all over they are ready. Leave to cool a little and then dig in.
*I probably should explain that we have a pot that sits by the side of our sink and any veg scraps get thrown into it for our brood of hungry chickens. They are now missing out on pumpkin seeds. Poor, poor chickens.