We peeled off the highway, leaving bumper to bumper traffic for the quiet risk of side roads, and found this pumpkin patch. It was a lucky string of events. It always seems to be that way — leave the beaten track and happen upon something amazing.
It felt like we struck gold, partly because I opted to not plant pumpkins this year. It’s a tradition in my family (and for the region we live in) to plant them on Easter Sunday, even if it’s just one. But living in a coastal climate with summer fog can be sad business for pumpkin growing so I left it off the list.
It would have been a good summer for them too as it was unusually hot and fog free — something that can never be guessed in March or April. The cucumbers grew like mad and it was the best season yet for tomatoes.
Pumpkins are one of those exceptional, charismatic plants. They span the seasons and mark the calendar. I love their scratchy leaves and rambling, spirited tendrils — and of course their seeds — if not for planting then for eating.
However, I’m famous for burning or otherwise cooking the seeds to a pulp and, until recently, it’s was always the same old thing — add some salt and pop them in the oven. It’s a wonder I’ve kept at it.
Finally, I think I’ve got it right. This is a recipe to try. Transform the same old burnt to a crisp disappointment into something wonderful.
Maple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Seeds from one pumpkin — about 1 1/2 to 2 cups
- 1/8 to 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
What to do:
- Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.
- Don’t wash the seeds. Scoop them out into a sauce pan, remove excess fibers but just the big stuff.
- Stir in butter and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until seeds start to brown the slightest bit and the butter begins to caramelize. I use just enough butter to coat well but not so much the seeds are swimming.
- Remove from heat.
- Mix in spices until well coated.
- Add maple syrup, stirring until evenly mixed.
- Place on cookie sheet or baking pan. Use parchment or no parchment (I don’t use parchment).
- Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring every 3 to 5 minutes. Stand guard during these minutes. Have your cup of tea or glass of wine close by and hover near the oven. Seeds can quickly turn from just right to fried in seconds.
- Seeds will start out gooey. As they cook and you diligently stir, you’ll notice they begin to separate and have a hint of dryness to them. That’s when you take them out of the oven and let cool.
- Eat, enjoy or store in an air tight container.