Spicy roasted pumpkin seeds

RoastedPumpkinSeeds © J Horak-Druiff 2010

One day I found two pumpkin seeds.
I planted one and pulled the weeds.
It sprouted roots and a big, long vine.
A pumpkin grew; I called it mine.
The pumpkin was quite round and fat.
(I really am quite proud of that.)
But there is something I’ll admit
That has me worried just a bit.
I ate the other seed, you see.
Now will it grow inside of me?
(Author unknown)

People often look back with nostalgia on their childhood as a time of carefree living; a time of no responsibility and innocent enjoyment of the world; each day spent smiling and laughing without a care or a worry, not yet plagued by the many concerns of adults.

Umm, clearly these people have either never been children, or forgotten what childhood was really like.  There was fear and mortal danger around every corner! Or at least that’s what your parents and friends would have you believe.  Let’s see, here’s a selection that I remember from my childhood…

  • If you touch toads or frogs, you’ll get warts!  Run! Run from the beast frog!
  • If you step on a crack in the pavement, you’ll cause your mother to break her back – so watch your step!
  • If you go for a swim anything less than EXACTLY one hour after eating even a peanut, you will defintely get cramp and drown! So don’t even THINK about it!
  • If you eat Pop Rocks (popping candy) and drink a fizzy soft-drink at the same time, you will explode (just like that kid – he was a friend of mine’s cousin’s neighbour, I swear!)
  • If you swallow the seeds from apples or grapes rather than spitting them out, you will end up with apple trees or grape vines growing in your stomach.  So spit like your life depends on it!

It was this final dire warning that sprang to mind as I was munching on these spicy seeds this weekend.  If it turns out to be true after all, I am in a world of trouble!

I usually can’t be bothered to do anything with pumpkin or squash seeds – or at any rate, do anything with them other than scrape them into the compost bin. But at this time of year there seem to be so many, and I do start feeling a vague twinge of guilt as I scoop them into the compost.  In South Africa, they would germinate and thrive on the compost heap (my mother-in-law has grown some spectacular butternut squashes on her compost heap – the less heed she pays them, the more they seem to grow!).  But here, even if they do germinate in our compost bin, the 9 months of cold that pass for the English climate kill them off pretty sharpish.  So it really does seem like a terrible waste to tip them into the compost bin, and when I saw my dear friend Johanna’s recipe for roasting them with spices, I knew that I was going to have to take the plunge, roast them and eat them – risk of internal cultivation be damned.  I made very minor changes, omitting the garlic and adding a bit of brown sugar but otherwise the recipe is Johanna’s.  I am pleased to report that they are easy to make and absolutely heavenly, either on their own or sprinkled on soups or salads to add crunch.

And if after a month or so no green shoots have sprouted from my mouth I intend to live even further on the edge and munch on a big bowl of these while stepping on the cracks in the paving as I head for the swimming pool!

If you liked this recipe, you might also want to try other finger food on CookSister, like:

And if you are wondering where I got the adorable bamboo bowl, it was kindly sent to me by Restaurantware, who make a beautiful range of bamboo biodegradable disposable cutlery and crockery for catering professionals.




80 g raw, unhulled pumpkin seeds
10 g butter, melted
generous pinch coarse sea salt
pinch of soft brown sugar
2 tsp garam masala


Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and place in a large sieve over the sink or a bowl of water. Wash thoroughly, rubbing with your fingers to remove all the fleshy and stringy bits. Rinse thoroughly, then spread the drained seeds onto some paper towels – I leave them overnight to dry.

Place the dry seeds in a mixing bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir to combine.  Stir in the salt, sugar and garam masala until evenly distributed, then spread the seeds out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Bake in the oven at 150C for 40 minutes until the seeds are turning brown. Leave to cool completely before storing in glass jars – or just eat them all as soon as they no longer burn your mouth!

And in other news…

The May 2011 Plate to Page hands-on food writing and photography workshop presented by meMeeta, Jamie and Ilva is now sold out – but register now if you are interested in Plate to Page II in Italy in Autumn 2011!

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  1. says

    hahaha that was hilarious. It’s so true! And we were sooo convinced of the truth of all these urban legends….your pumpkin seeds look much better than mine…I left them in for a minute too long and they just burnt:( ah well…maybe next year?!

  2. says

    I usually chuck the seeds but someone else has done the work for me and I cabn buy them in the stores to spice up just like this. It seems the thing to do this time of year.

  3. says

    So simple and delicious, the spicy roasted pumpkin seeds. Congrats on your class, unfortunately, I only now just hearing about it. Wonderful that it’s sold out.

  4. says

    Well done for living dangerously! We always thought it was being eaten by bears that made pavement cracks so dangerous… A.A.Milne has a lot to answer for! And apple or grape pips could get stuck inside and cause appendicitis….still don’t know if that one is myth or possible fact!
    My middle daughter used to get terrified in the evenings when I warned her to put on her dressing gown in case of draughts… only found out later she thought it was giraffes she needed to watch out for!
    Love the sound of this recipe. Will be trying it when our autumn comes around.

  5. says

    so glad you liked the recipe! your pictures are gorgeous… i never thought you’d catch me saying that, but looking at the fallen leaves in your garden, i kind of DO miss autumn 😉

  6. says

    Finally something heavenly to use pumpkin seeds for. I used to dry them in the oven and then, with a needle and cotton, thread them into a necklace. Only snag was the necklaces were hideous! So I can now dump the sartorial disasters and eat the seeds instead. Thank you! x

  7. says

    ahahah! loved this post! I share with you the third and the last points of the list: do no dare go for a swim and do not dare eat a seed!! 😀 too fun!
    But oh, I do love nibbling on pumpkin seed in front of the tv!

  8. says

    Wow, I love pumpkin seeds in fact those packets of mixed seds that you get from the health shop are always in my pantry , I will definitely give this a try …. We were not allowed to eat water melon seeds a a kid … ha ha water melons would grow in your stomach

  9. Julia says

    yup, they can be dangerous, but only if they go up your nose or down your windpipe. My small cousin had a peanut starting to sprout at the top of his nose – his mum only noticed when it started to smell! In your mouth and down your throat – delicious!