After carving your jack-o'-lantern, roast the seeds for a healthy, tasty snack.


BUTLER, Mo. – One of the best rewards during pumpkin carving season are the seeds. They can be roasted, boiled, dehydrated and even microwaved. They make a healthy snack or a tasty addition to salads, soups, sautéed vegetables and baked goods.

At first glance, roasting the pulp-covered seeds may seem daunting, but it’s really very easy, said Tammy Roberts, nutrition education specialist for University of Missouri Extension.

Put the seeds, pulp and all, in a big bowl of water, Roberts said. Rub them vigorously with your hands and they’ll clean up fast. Don’t worry if there’s a bit of pulp and string left on the seeds; it will come off easily after the seeds are prepared.

For roasting, spray a cookie sheet with vegetable oil and place the seeds in a single layer.

Lightly spray the tops of the seeds with vegetable oil and salt to taste. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or until the seeds are lightly browned.

If you are avoiding salt, add any flavoring you like, Roberts said. “That can include cheese you put on popcorn, garlic, or anything, and you can also roast them with no salt or flavoring.”

Here are a few flavor ideas: You can prepare savory seeds with garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. How about Halloweeny seeds flavored with cinnamon, ground ginger and allspice? You can make the seeds spicy by adding thyme and cayenne pepper.

Roasted pumpkin seeds also make a terrific, healthy snack. They’re a great source of minerals, protein and monounsaturated fat. One ounce of roasted pumpkin seeds—about 140 seeds—provides 148 calories, nine grams of protein and one gram of fiber, Roberts said.

Pumpkin seeds are available year-round, but are at their best during pumpkin season. So don’t throw the seeds away. Instead, make a yummy end to pumpkin-carving season by preparing and sharing these slightly sweet, crunchy seeds.

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