Roasted pumpkin seeds feature among my favorite homegrown, homemade snacks, not just because they’re delicious but also because they’re easy. You can spice them with so many seasonings and can even roast the seeds of other winter squash in the same way, as I explain this week in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon.
The hardest part of roasting pumpkin and other winter squash seeds is getting the stringy mess out of the squash—which you need to do anyway when you want to use the flesh. As you scrape out the seeds and soft center of the squash, pull off any large pieces of membrane, dump everything else in a bowl of warm water, and let it sit for a couple of minutes. I’ve found it easiest to clean the seeds by plunging my hands into the bowl, rubbing the seeds free of the warmed stringy bits, and then plopping the seeds into a large-holed colander to drain.
You can rinse the seeds again and pat them dry if you wish; I recommend this if you’re going to save the seeds to plant next season, but I rarely bother when I’m roasting seeds. The tiny bits of pumpkin that might remain add flavor, and the drained seeds retain surface moisture that helps spices cling to the seeds.
Learn more about saving, roasting, and flavoring squash seeds and get the complete recipe for Spiced and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds in my column.
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Twice as Tasty
The spice mix I sprinkle on roasted pumpkin seeds in this week’s recipe is the same combination I use when making my favorite pumpkin pie. Throughout this month, my column will feature the other homemade components that go into a pumpkin pie: home-roasted pumpkin puree, scratch-made pie crust, and of course the final pie filling. Put them all together, and you’re set to bake your own homemade pie for a Thanksgiving feast.
The spice blend can even be made at home from whole spices. Homemade spice blends not only impart maximum flavor but also can be made in a larger batch and divided for gifting. The toasted blend of whole spices looks so pretty in a little glass jar that I tend to gift it this way to people comfortable with grinding their own spices; it lasts longer too. For busy cooks, I grind the mix before putting it in jars.
You can suggest recipes for using the mix too. When I have it at hand, I swap this blend into Harvest Pumpkin Bread, and it’s delicious on Home-Spiced Nuts or Baked Chickpea Snacks. You can also stir it into homemade granola, hot cereal, or your morning latte.
Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You just need a collection of whole spices and dried ginger.
1. Toast the spices.
2. Let cool.
3. Grind as needed.
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Homemade Pumpkin Spice Mix
1-1/2 whole nutmeg
1-1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
9 whole cloves
1 tablespoon ground ginger
Break the cinnamon stick into pieces. With a nutmeg grater or microplane, grate the nutmeg. Warm a heavy skillet over low-medium heat. When hot, toast the prepared cinnamon and nutmeg, along with the allspice and cloves, for 4–5 minutes, until the spices give off a lightly toasted aroma. Stir the spices constantly while toasting. Add the ground ginger, stir for about 10 seconds, and then transfer to a plate to cool completely.
Grind the blend into a fine powder using a spice mill, mortar and pestle, or clean coffee grinder. The mix will keep for up to a year when whole or 3 months when ground if stored away from heat and light. Makes about 1/3 cup whole spices and 1/4 cup when ground.
Tips & Tricks
- As those who take my Indian spice workshop learn, the flavor that comes from toasting, grinding, and otherwise preparing your own spices hits ground and premixed blends out of the park. So it’s worth the extra time to create this blend from whole ingredients.
- The obvious exception here is ginger; fresh gingerroot is too juicy to keep in a dry spice mix. You can sometimes find dried ginger whole or sliced, or dehydrate your own, that can then be ground as needed for brighter flavor. Slices of dried ginger can be added to the pan and then the grinder like the other whole spices. Whole dried ginger is best grated with a microplane, like the nutmeg, before heating and grinding.
- This blend makes a delicious and attractive gift when packaged in small jars or opaque containers. Whole spices keep longer, but don’t hesitate to grind the blend for recipients who would appreciate the ease of a ready-to-measure mix.
Want more Twice as Tasty recipes? Get my books! Click here to order a personally signed, packaged, and shipped copy of The Complete Guide to Pickling directly from me. I also share tasty ways to use pickles in The Pickled Picnic; it’s only available here.
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