Growing up in New England, Fall was a magical time of year. The golden yellows, coppers and royal reds adorned the great oaks, walnuts and maples that lined the streets. The air was crisp and dry. Leaves fell from the trees, covering the ground like a colorful carpet of snow. Baking season was in full swing! Apples and pumpkins were the Fall harvest of the New England area. Orchards and pumpkin fields dotted the landscape. For us, getting our pumpkin for Halloween was always an adventure…but that is a story for another time.
Carving the Halloween jack-o-lantern was a really big deal in our household but as much as this gutted gourd was the star on that spooky night, its seeds were the main attraction upon its carving. My Mother sifted through the slimy guts to gather all the seeds she could find. Then while Dad was carefully sketching his elaborate scary face for Jack, she would roast the seeds for snacking. My sister and I happily scooped up handfuls of seeds while chatting with our parents, discussing our costumes for the upcoming evening’s candy fest and eventual coma to follow. This tradition has been carried on in the homes of both my sister and myself; our children delighting in this wonderful seedy snack, its simplicity and the conversations that inevitably develop around the carving table.
So before you throw out those seeds, why not try roasting them. This easy-to-make, nutritious snack packs a vitamin-filled punch and is as delicious as it is good for you. Pumpkins seeds contain antioxidant carotenoids – alpha and beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin. Vitamin A through converting beta-carotene as well as vitamins C and E. Minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, copper and iron.
Simple snack, simple directions:
- Gut your pumpkin and separate out the seeds.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse the seeds, patting them dry with a paper towel.
- Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil and spread out the seeds, making sure to line the sheet.
- Then lightly spray the seeds with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until you can smell the seeds.
- Once out of the oven, stir the seeds up to ensure full oil/salt coverage and serve!
A simple tradition of food and good conversation. What could be better than that?