The Easiest Way To Clean Pumpkin Seeds Before Roasting Them

Though not as ever-present in the snack aisle as potato chips, pretzels, or peanuts, pumpkin seeds are always a tasty autumn treat. Generally, the desired end result is roasted and salted seeds, and the process starts amidst the innards of a pumpkin. Like you'd expect of anything that has sprouted from inside pumpkin goop, a good cleaning beforehand is essential before doing any cooking with them. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of antioxidants, zinc, and magnesium and are linked to good prostate and bladder health. But first make sure to fully wash and clean your seeds before cooking.

Seeds straight out of the would-be jack-o-lantern are naturally very sticky with ancillary pumpkin flesh and can retain the lingering taste and scent of the interior unless properly rinsed. Luckily, there is an easy way to rid each and every seed of any unwanted residue by simply putting the seeds in a bowl of water.

Clean seeds rise above the rest

A simple cleaning hack for your pumpkin seeds this holiday season is all in what floats. After scooping out all the pumpkin seeds into your large mixing bowl, remove as much of the flesh and stringy bits that you can and discard them. The real magic happens once you fill this bowl half full with water. When submerged in water, the pumpkin seeds naturally rise to the surface and float, while the residual flesh sinks to the bottom. If you use your hands and rub the seeds between your palms in the water, the rest of the stringy pumpkin goop should peel off and join the pile at the bottom. 

Once given the rubdown, fish out all the clean seeds and put them into a colander to drain. Some of the seeds may still be attached to the flesh; you can pinch them off and put in the water, rub, and pull out to put in the colander. Drain and discard the leftover flesh (or put it aside to use in a pumpkin bread, soup, cheesecake, and lots more!) Make sure to give the drying seeds a good swirl in the colander to get the excess moisture off and leave to drain and dry about 15-30 minutes. 

Pumpkin seeds are more versatile than you think

Not simply for snacking, freshly cleaned pumpkin seeds are also an extremely versatile ingredient in cooking and can be used in a myriad of ways. Besides enjoying them on their own, you can add these seeds to nearly any aspect of modern cuisine, including such wide varying foods as mole sauce, pasta garnish, oatmeal topping, and a solid, healthy, building block in a granola or trail mix. With the right equipment, such as a mortar and pestle or mechanical press, you can also use the roasted seeds for extraction purposes to make pumpkin seed oil. That all being said, roasted pumpkin seeds are most often enjoyed on their own, providing handful after handful of nutritious grazing! 

As with anything that grows naturally from the Earth below, a good washing before consumption is imperative. This will not only make your seeds taste better, but will prevent them from sticking together, which makes them far easier to cook with. Use the floatation hack any time you want to put those pumpkin seeds to good use, and your season will be brighter for it! 

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