Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baked Pumpkin Seeds

What a weekend. I spent a good part of it with my friends at the SYRCL Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Think Sundance, only smaller, quainter and no pretense. There were quite a few films focusing on food, farmers and sustainability. I was inspired. I felt hope! One film challenged the audience to know the farmer of one ingredient of one meal a day you eat. I am taking that challenge seriously. What do you think of that challenge? I imagined that it would be pretty exciting to really feel like you are supporting a farmer in your community and wonder if that could change how you feel about the meal you are eating.

Wendy Van Wagner, a local friend, colleague and entrepreneur served kale pesto and beet dip from this blog on crostinis she catered for the gala event for the film festival. I was honored! Mostly because she is a talented chef and teacher herself and owns her own local cooking school In The Kitchen and knows her stuff. Thank you again Wendy!

My recipe this week is from my sweet friend Nikiya. She is a fabulous cook herself. She introduced me to my local grain CSA I belong to. I went to her house one day and her partner Kevin gave me a handful of pumpkin seeds that she had soaked in water overnight and then baked in the oven with a bit of salt. I had to stop myself from eating the whole jar it was so tasty. Salty, crunchy, nutty and satisfying. I have been making them regularly since then and packing them in my bag before I leave the house for a snacks on the go. Soaking seeds make them more digestable and break down the enzymes that make nuts harder to digest. When you bake pumpkin seeds, the seeds puff up and then get crunchy. It reminds me of popcorn in a way. I am not kidding when I tell you that when I made these for a dinner party a week or two back the bowl was gone in less than five minutes and the adults had to stop the kids from taking handfuls and running down the hall to keep them for themselves. A sign of a successful dish! A wonderful snack, but great to put on top of soups, enchiladas, crostinis, oatmeal, chili, granola...a long list of compatible foods. And, this is super easy!

Puffy Pumpkin Seeds
makes two cups

2 cups raw green pumpkin seeds
1 tbls braggs liquid aminos

Soak pumpkin seeds overnight in a bowl of water. The next day, drain the seeds and combine with braggs in a bowl. Spread on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for around 15 minutes. Every five minutes use a spoon and gently stir the seeds. You will hear them start to pop as they start to dry and puff up. When they start to brown and are crunchy and not soggy at all, they are done. I let mine sit on the cookie sheet until they are cooled and then put into a glass jar for storage.
I use braggs liquid aminos because it is less salty then tamari which I think it overpowering to these little seeds. You could use sea salt too. Since you are not drying the seeds before you bake them, the salt sticks to the seeds. I know this recipe is easy, but you will never go back to traditionally roasted nuts after you try this alternative method.


Nancy said...

Hi Jessica,
These puffy pumpkin seeds look totally addictive - I usually eat pepitas raw, but now I must try roasting them.

I'm on board with the know-your-farmer challenge too! I have to admit, although I shop at greenmarkets each week I haven't met many of the actual farmers, mostly I interact with the people they hire to man their farmstands. Working on it, though :)

Becky said...

We love pumpkin seeds! I am going to risk sounding stupid though and ask if these are in the shell or shelled pumpkin seeds that you're soaking? I'd love to try making these!

Anonymous said...

I pre-soaked my pumpkin seeds for a week - by accident! I seasoned them with some cinnamon, ginger, and raw sugar and baked them similarly to what you describe. They were so good.

Oh, and by the way - Happy 2011!

Jessica said...

Windy City..I am wondering if soaking them longer made them taste better? love the cinnamon idea...
Becky...They are green pumpkin seeds, not the white ones in the shell...
Nancy..loving your blog!

Becky said...

Finally!! I got some seeds to try this recipe today!!! I always have one of your recipes floating around in the back of my mind, Jess.

Absolutely can't wait to try them!

Jessica said...

Made these tonight! Make sure you get the raw, green kind. I tossed them with a butter lettuce salad with a meyer lemon dressing. Ohhh..it was good! Tell me how your turn out. xo

Becky said...

So I made the pumpkin seeds (yes, I'm on a tear tonight with your recipes...) and they are DELICIOUS. Seriously my husband is going to devour these when he gets home tonight. Yea, he kinda loves pumpkin seeds. Anyhow, the only thing is that mine didn't really puff up as much as it looks like yours did. Some did, but most didn't. I'd say it's a 50/50 split of flat as a pancake seeds and puffy seeds. What's the deal, yo?


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