• Salted pumpkin seedsMax Ronnersjo
    Salted pumpkin seedsMax Ronnersjo

BUTLER, Mo. – One of the best rewards during pumpkin season are the seeds. They taste great, can be flavored in multiple ways and are great for snacks and salad toppers.

When you first remove the seeds from the pumpkin, however, it’s kind of a slimy mess. But it’s easy to clean them up.

“Put the seeds, pulp and all, in a big bowl of water. Rub them vigorously with your hands and they’ll clean up fast,” said Tammy Roberts, nutrition specialist for University of Missouri Extension.

 Don’t worry if there’s a bit of pulp and string left on the seeds, Roberts says. It will come off easily after the seeds are prepared.

There are several ways to prepare pumpkin seeds. They can be roasted, boiled, dehydrated and even microwaved. Right before preparation, you can use your culinary skills and palate to add any flavor you want.

“That can include cheese you put on popcorn, garlic, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce, thyme and cayenne pepper, or cinnamon, ground ginger and allspice,” Roberts said. “You can also roast them with no salt or flavoring.”

To roast the seeds, spray a cookie sheet with vegetable oil and spread the seeds out in a single layer.

“Lightly spray the tops of the seeds with vegetable oil and add your flavoring, if desired,” Roberts said. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or until the seeds are lightly browned.

Pumpkin seeds can also be dehydrated. Place them in a dehydrator at 115 to 120 degrees for one to two hours.

“If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dehydrate them in the oven,” Roberts says. “Place them in a shallow pan in the oven. Set the oven on warm.”

It takes about three or four hours, she says. Just make sure that you watch the seeds and stir them often to prevent burning.

No matter how you prepare them, pumpkins seeds are a terrific and healthy snack. Roberts says they’re a great source of minerals, protein and monounsaturated fat.

“One ounce of roasted pumpkin seeds—about 140 seeds—provides 148 calories, 9 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber,” Roberts said.

Pumpkin seeds are available year-round, but are at their best during pumpkin season. So don’t throw those seeds away. 

Pumpkin seed recipes

•Pumpkin seed snack mix:

•Mediterranean roasted pumpkin seeds:

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