Hawaiian Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt (optional)
Parchment Paper (optional)
Step one: make awesome family memories by cleaning out and carving pumpkins. Now it's time to cook. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the pumpkin seeds. We had approximately 4 cups of seeds and I added 1T kosher salt for just a mild salt flavor. If you like saltier seeds, you'll have to adjust. I like to taste and add salt at the end. That way you don't risk over salting and ending up with seeds so salty that no one wants to eat them. Bring the seeds and water to a simmer on medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Our seeds were on the larger side so I let them go about 12 minutes. They start to look almost grayish in color, as they cook. You can see the seed color inside start to show through. That's how you know they're done. Drain your pot into a colander, then spread out on a towel or paper towels and pat some of the moisture off.
If you're happy with just simply salted seeds, this is where you spread your seeds on a cookie sheet or baking tray. Try to get them in as close to a single layer as you can, with minimal overlapping. I lined mine with parchment paper first for easier clean up and added a twist from the Hawaiian Salt Grinder over the top. Here's where the Merrills go a bit wild.
Remember our delicious Pumpkin Spice Muffins? Using those same seasonings, I tossed 1/3 of our seeds with 1/2t olive oil, 1 1/2t coconut palm sugar, 1/4t cinnamon, and 1/8t each of nutmeg, clove and cardamom. Spread on a second cookie sheet.
Then, I took my final 1/3 of seeds and tossed them with some taco seasoning. You can use a pre-mix seasoning, but for us they have way too much salt in them along with some other undesirable ingredients. I found this delicious recipe over at Rachel Schultz and have been making it in bulk to store in a ball jar ever since my first taste. It's like a fiesta in your mouth.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes. I used the convection setting because it bakes so evenly without having to turn or rotate your trays. I highly recommend it if your oven has the option. If not, bake away on just regular bake. Toss them around well, then return to the oven for another 8-10 minutes. Again, my seeds were on the larger side so we checked and tasted often I ended up baking them an extra 10 minutes for a total of 30. Once they were done, we taste tested and added a twist more of Hawaiian Salt on top. One little foodie jr. requested pepper flavor, so we split the plain salted seeds and added a dash of white pepper and a twist of pink pepper to one half. The next ten minutes were spent with the whole family stuffing seeds in their mouths and voting on their favorite flavor. Happy Halloween!!