How To Properly Clean Pumpkin Seeds Before Roasting

jack-o-lantern being gutted
jack-o-lantern being gutted - Longfin Media/Shutterstock

Pumpkins are one of the many gifts autumn brings. Some of us simply enjoy pumpkins for their tasty contribution to soups and baked goods, while others enjoy these fruits purely for aesthetics. However you enjoy pumpkins, consider using the whole gourd next time you take one of them home. This isn't only to prevent waste because the real treat is inside your pumpkin, suspended in all those ooey-gooey guts –- all those beautiful, nutritious, delicious pumpkin seeds. For those of you who've never known the joy of roasting your own pumpkin seeds but have serious trepidation about the process, fear not: cleaning all the slimy bits off may be easier than you think.

When most people carve their jack-o-lanterns, they scoop all the insides out and throw them away. We get it; it's messy and quite the sensory nightmare. But in all the tangled vines of fibrous orange mess lies buried the treasure –- those white oval hulls with the seeds, or pepitas, inside. So, how do you separate the treat from the chaff? It all starts with a bowl of water.

Read more: 8 Baking Sheet Mistakes You Want To Avoid

Picking Out The Pulp

Pumpkin with its seeds
Pumpkin with its seeds - Ahphotoswpg/Getty Images

Scoop the pumpkin guts into a large bowl. The bowl should be big enough to cover the seeds (and accompanying goo) with water by at least a few inches. Be sure that the stuff is completely covered; the more space and water there is in the bowl, the more easily you'll be able to separate the fibrous material from the seeds. Some of the seeds will float to the top: scoop them out with a slotted spoon and place them in a colander for later. The seeds, though free from their gooey binds, will still feel slimy -- don't worry, this is normal.

Start to dislodge the remaining seeds from the pulp by agitating the seeds in the water, then pull out as much of the mushy bits as possible. Don't stir up the water too much, or you'll risk breaking the pulp apart, making the process more difficult in the long run. If you really want to commit to no waste, the pumpkin goo makes terrific compost. Just be sure to get all those seeds unless you won't mind a surprise compost pumpkin patch.

Dry As A Bone

Pumpkin seeds in colander
Pumpkin seeds in colander - Celeste Jenkins/Shutterstock

When you're confident that the pulp is gone, put all the seeds into a colander and give them a thorough rinse. Again -- they'll be a little slimy even after the second bath, but it's not a big deal so long as the massive pieces of pulp have been removed. Now that you have a boatload of freshly scooped and bathed pumpkin seeds, you'll want to let them dry out.

Spread the seeds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (You may need a second sheet if you have a large pumpkin or multiples.) Be sure to lay the seeds out evenly and try not to overlap them -- they'll need decent air circulation to prevent any molding. If you're looking for an excellent crunch, boil the seeds in their hulls before drying them out. When it comes time to roast, feel free to add any seasoning you like in addition to salt (baking spices or even cayenne pepper!), and remember: the longer the pumpkin seeds are left to sit, the less time and lower temperature will be required in the oven. By following a few easy steps, you can enjoy every bit of your pumpkins this fall.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.