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Pumpkin seeds, really?  RSS feed

 
Polly Oz
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Hi Linda. Maybe you can shed some light on this for me.

Cookbook after cookbook, blog after blog I read that oven roasted pumpkin seeds are wonderful, but my experience doesn't match. Consisting mostly of tough, difficult to chew shell, how are these even edible, much less delicious? I've tried a variety of different pumpkins and my results are uniformly bad. Shelled kernels from the store are great, unshelled home roasted, not. Am I missing something here?

Mine don't get wasted; when chopped up they are highly sought after by my hens. How do you use pumpkin seeds?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Grow a variety like "Lady Godiva" which has naked seeds -- missing the seed coat. Seed catalogs typically call this trait "hulless".
 
Polly Oz
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I know about the hulless seeds, but what I keep reading is, "don't throw away the seeds from your pumpkin, they are delicious roasted". Is there really any way to eat the seeds from ordinary pumpkins/winter squash?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The only way I am able to eat pumpkin seeds is one at a time after peeling. I have seen people eat them hull and all. Heck, I even see people do that with sunflower seeds. But hulls are not for me.
 
Crt Jakhel
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In my home country (Slovenia, Europe), in the farmers' markets you can buy pumpkin seeds both with a hull and without it. The ones with a hull come roasted and salted. The hull has been dried by this process; it's not chewy anymore (on average) and can be cracked. You crack it with your teeth or maybe you just don't bother and you swallow the seed whole including the hull - if the particular one you're having right now is not particularly thick.

Let's say it's like eating very small fried fish. You can remove the bones or not.

On the other hand lots of pumpkins grown locally are hull-less (štajerska golica - styrian hull-less pumpkin) because they are meant for pumpkin oil production and not having a hull improves yield and ease of processing. These seeds are of course also excellent for eating both raw (which you would not do with a variety that has the hull) and roasted.

 
Lorenzo Costa
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In Italy we do that same as in SLovenia. They are eaten so often. Take the seeds with the hull, wash them from the pumpkin stuff, then put them in salted water for 24 to 48 hours that serves to let them be more edible some people find them difficult to digest friends say, I'm not sure but I do the same. then you dry them with a towel, if you want you flavor them with peppe or paprika or even just nothing, and put them for 45/55 minutes in the oven at 200 degrees C.
on one single layer not touching each other, move them around every now and then. let them cool down. then you break the hull putting it between your front teeth and pull out the actual seed. I've frienda that eat it all hull and seed, I prefer only the seed.
I've seen a kilo packet go away with four friends watching a movie, they're better than chips
 
Linda Ly
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Hi Polly,

If you find the shells to be tough and chewy, they probably need a little more time in the oven. Sometimes if you have seeds that are not consistent in size, they won't bake at the same rate.

That said, I like to use my pumpkin seeds as a garnish in salads and soups to add crunch. They're also a fine substitute for nuts in homemade pesto.
 
Rebecca Norman
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When we salt and spice them and roast them in the oven, I tend to chew up the shell and all. It's okay, but now that you mention it, you're right, it's not the most fabulous snack.

Lorenzo Costa wrote:... some people find them difficult to digest friends say, I'm not sure ...


I don't know about difficult to digest, but they certainly do give your gas that distinctive pumpkin seed smell!
 
Katy Whitby-last
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Crt Jakhel wrote:
On the other hand lots of pumpkins grown locally are hull-less (štajerska golica - styrian hull-less pumpkin) because they are meant for pumpkin oil production and not having a hull improves yield and ease of processing. These seeds are of course also excellent for eating both raw (which you would not do with a variety that has the hull) and roasted.



I wonder if there are any hull-less varieties that would be available in the UK as I love pumpkin seeds and I struggle with the hulled ones (my goats are quite happy about that though)
 
Troy Rhodes
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The hull-less pumpkin seeds are wonderful. All other pumpkin seeds are very poor imitations.

The pumpkin family has almost become 4 different species:

the no-hull seed pumpkins aren't great for eating the flesh

The pumpkin pie pumpkins have lousy seeds

The jack-o-lantern pumpkins look like, well, jack-o-lanterns, but are mediocre at best for everything else.

The giant pumpkins are big, and that's it, don't make good pie, crappy seeds


Plant breeding for certain desirable traits is a worthy goal, but you can end up with a specialty plant that only does one thing well.

 
r ranson
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Lorenzo Costa wrote:In Italy we do that same as in SLovenia. They are eaten so often. Take the seeds with the hull, wash them from the pumpkin stuff, then put them in salted water for 24 to 48 hours that serves to let them be more edible some people find them difficult to digest friends say, I'm not sure but I do the same. then you dry them with a towel, if you want you flavor them with peppe or paprika or even just nothing, and put them for 45/55 minutes in the oven at 200 degrees C.
on one single layer not touching each other, move them around every now and then. let them cool down. then you break the hull putting it between your front teeth and pull out the actual seed. I've frienda that eat it all hull and seed, I prefer only the seed.
I've seen a kilo packet go away with four friends watching a movie, they're better than chips


This is fantastic. Thank you for your suggestion.

Hulless seeds are fascinating, but it seems a waste of space to grow my normal, big-seeded squashes, then another patch of squashes just for the seed.

I wonder, to the OP, how are you curing your squash before harvesting the seeds? Carol Deppe mentions in her book Resilient Gardener, that it makes a difference to both flesh and seeds, that the squash is properly cured before eating. Deppe states that most grocery store and farmer's market squash are not cured properly.

Looking forward to hearing more about pumpkin seeds. I've always wanted to like them, but like the OP, have never had success processing my own. This year is going to be different.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The pepo squash is the only species in which the "hulless seed" trait is currently available. Pepo also happens to be the species that I find the least palatable as a winter squash. I think that there isn't much that could be done to fix that, other than moving the hulless gene into a different species of squash. That is an arduous task, but it could be done via traditional breeding methods if someone wanted to devote the effort to the project.
 
Roberta Wilkinson
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I use a liberal amount of oil when roasting, and go for a nice uniform golden brown all over, tossing and stirring several times during the roasting. Once cool, the hulls are very crispy, not chewy at all, and to my palate make for a more satisfying texture than the meats alone without their hulls.
 
Will Meginley
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If you like Mexican food, several of the seven traditional Oaxacan mole sauces use ground pumpkin seed as a thickener. Mole verde (green sauce), in particular, uses it as one of the primary flavoring ingredients.
 
elle sagenev
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I like the crunch. We eat roasted pumpkin seeds with much enthusiasm!
 
Julia Winter
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If you don't like roasted pumpkin seeds, I would guess that you don't have enough oil in the pan and/or you haven't roasted them to golden yumminess.

I really like pumpkin seeds - even from Jack O Lantern pumpkins! My husband was skeptical the first time I roasted them up, but he likes them too. Of course my kids like them - they've been eating them their whole life.

I just pull the seeds out and squeeze away most of the pulp. I don't wash them. They get some flavor from the pumpkin "juice" on the hulls. Then I put them on baking sheets (jelly roll pans, to be precise - half sheets) with olive oil and salt. I roast them at, um, 250 (I think. maybe 300?) and bring them out to stir at least twice during the process because they seem to roast faster towards the outside edges.

I can hear them popping when they roast. I cook them until they are a deep golden brown color. Not too dark brown - that tastes burnt. Taste them as you roast them.

I will gather up pumpkins after Halloween so I can roast the seeds, then just compost the rest of it.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm pretty sure, that to my taste buds, it wouldn't matter how much oil I added, or how long I roasted... if I cooked a piece of balsa wood, it would still taste like balsa wood when I was finished. I just can't bring myself to like, or even tolerate, overly-fibrous plant parts -- like pumpkin seed hulls -- regardless of how they are cooked or seasoned.

 
Crt Jakhel
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Katy Whitby-last wrote:I wonder if there are any hull-less varieties that would be available in the UK as I love pumpkin seeds and I struggle with the hulled ones (my goats are quite happy about that though)


Here you go -

Kakai http://www.chilternseeds.co.uk/item.php?id=1363G

Lady Godiva http://www.organiccatalogue.com/p1925/SQUASH-Lady-Godiva/product_info.html

 
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