What's your favorite part about pumpkin carving? Cozying up and picking one out at the patch? (Me.) Having people over, making tortilla soup and cornbread, and popping in a scary movie? (Me.) Competing to come up with the most original design and seeking total pumpkin carving domination? (Husband.) Cutting it open and gutting out the mushy insides? (Little brother.) Or lighting the candle, turning off the lights and admiring the finished product? (Most sane people.)
Or do you happen to be like my sister and look forward to the roasting of seeds? As in, a Halloween without roasted pumpkin seeds is a Halloween wasted. I was only halfway done zig-zagging the top off my pumpkin when she pushed a colander of sloppy entrails towards me and begged me to get the oven going. "Whaa? But I only just....OKAY!" I can never pass up tradition, nor genuine holiday enthusiasm such as that. My excuse for having the most boring jack-o-lantern this year is that I rushed it to have more time in the kitchen. Serving guests! Gosh. Next year I'll do the Mona Lisa.
There are a million delicious ways to season roasted pumpkin seeds, my favorite being basic butter and salt. You can also try sweet, spicy, and gourmet versions...but that's like taking popcorn and doing crazy stuff with it, and who likes those weird Christmas popcorn tins of funky flavors? Okay, well you're on your own then.
Even my British husband, the man who has experienced Halloween all of five times, liked the salty crunch of these nuts. (Awkward phrasing? Maybe.) And that was after witnessing the process of obtaining them. He's squirmish, I never knew.
They can be stored and enjoyed for up to a week but honestly, they're best straight out of the oven, popped in your mouth between bites of caramel apple and hiding your head under pillows from Michael Myers. Don't forget the spiced apple cider to wash it all down.
From left to right: mine, my 12 year-old brother's, my sister's (Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas), and husband's (Spiderman, made with a dremel and some fierce determination). Happy pumpkin carving!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Seeds from one pumpkin (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons butter
salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Separate seeds from pumpkin core, rinse them in water.
2. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet, combine with salt and butter and toss. Bake for about 20 minutes or until seeds are crispy and golden brown. Taste and season with more salt if desired.
3. Remove from oven, cool completely before serving.