Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Seeds

As a toddler I loved to play in dirt, my mother tells me. Eventually my delight in tactile sensations found an outlet in my ceramic classes through out high school and beyond. But let me tell you, nothing is better than feeling the innards of a pumpkin! Separating the seeds from its entrails is a cheap thrill for me to this day. Preparing pumpkin seeds is a serious endeavour. So don't fret if you have already thrown yours out.

The very best way to flavor your seeds is to soak them in a brine solution overnight. I know a little bit about brines because of my husband's interest in smoking his caught fish. You don't want to use iodized salt because it can lend a metallic flavor. So if you look carefully in markets you can find table salt without it. Pickling salt is finer and will dissolve easy in water, or you can use Kosher or Sea salt, which won't have iodine in it either. The basic brine solution is 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 quart water. You can mix in luke warm water to help with dissolving, if necessary. After soaking overnight, you will need to dry your seeds all day on a cooking sheet. What ever you do don't put paper underneath! My seeds adhered to the paper towels and I had to peel each off individually (not a pleasant task at all).

Next roast your seeds in a low heated oven at 250 degrees F. for one hour. You can salt again as you see fit before during or after this. At the end of the bake time feel free to sprinkle plain or cinnamon sugar to taste. If you prefer salty flavors, Martha Stewart suggests putting them at this point into a heated fry pan with peanut oil (1-2 tablespoons). Then you can add any spice that suits your fancy. I put ginger, chili pepper, and curry seasonings into mine. Fry for a few minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the spices start to color but not burn. The whole house will smell wonderfully fragrant if you do.

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