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Clarification: pumpkin seeds. October 29, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here, and I need your help. We’re big fans of pepitas (roasted, salted pumpkin seeds) here at Hawk’s Haven. But I’d always been told that “regular” pumpkin seeds (the kinds with the white hulls) were so difficult to hull—and that you had to remove the hulls before roasting them or you couldn’t eat them, which seemed to be borne out by the fact that storebought pepitas are always hulless and green—that your only option was to grow special varieties of pumpkins with hulless seeds if you wanted to roast your own. Fortunately, there are a few hulless-seeded varieties out there, if you can find them: ‘Tricky Jack’, ‘Triple Treat’, ‘Trick or Treat’, and ‘Baby Bear’ (which is semi-hulless).

But what if you don’t have enough veggie garden space to grow your own pumpkins and have to buy them from the farm stand, grocery, or farmers’ market instead? I’d say the likelihood of finding one of these hulless-seeded varieties for sale is pretty much zero. However, I keep hearing that you can roast and eat any old pumpkin seed, without removing the tough white hull. Just this morning, our blog host, WordPress, featured a post about saving and roasting pumpkin seeds that said nary a word about hulling the seeds before roasting and eating them.

Help!!! Have you ever roasted your own pepitas? Have you ever roasted them from any old pumpkin, hulls and all? If so, how were they? What am I missing here?!! Please share your experience with us. Maybe we won’t have to put our pumpkin guts in the compost or give them all to the chickens this year! (Note: For some interesting recipes using pumpkin—pumpkin spaghetti and pumpkin cornbread—as well as directions for roasting pumpkin seeds, see our earlier post, “Picking pumpkins.”)

             ‘Til next time,



1. Dave@TheHomeGarden - October 29, 2009

We roast them every year with the hulls. Seems like a lot of trouble to remove them! They may taste better without the hulls.

Thanks for checking in, Dave! If you roast them every year, I assume they’re still easy to eat even in their hulls, and taste good enough for some fun snacking? Sheesh. Guess I’ll just have to try it!

2. Lzyjo - October 29, 2009

OMG! VERY recently I threw out a entire steaming, oven-hot loaf of pumpkin bread because I added unshelled roasted pumpkin seeds (seeds that I spent a ton of time, smooshing out of the guts and then roasting!) I was so P.O.’d at Alton Brown for not saying “unshelled” pumpkin seeds, the green ones!!! My husband practically accosted me when I got inside. He was sneaking pumpkin bread before it cooled down and was then all alarmed by finding inedible pumpkin seeds in his slice. He actually saved the seeds, (with cake on them) for me to see?!!!! WTH, OVER?! YOu should have seen my one star review! HA! I think he thought they were cockroaches or something. As if. It was humiliating and sincerely reminded me of why I having 0 cooking privileges. Shortly after Dh and I got married he refused to let me cook my own grilled cheese sandwich! Infuriating! Silence, tell OFB to lay off the short hating. You’re the one who’s normal. Ahem. Maybe you should learn some snappy answers. Honest, once I started doing them the shit I got from DH was drastically cut down. 😀


I ave two or three of these books, very helpful, even have their own lines to fill in your very own Snappy answer. Happy Halloween H’every H’one H’at Hawk’s Haven. hmm, that sounds like a message from Steven Hawking. Doesn’t it.

Ha! Oh, dear, what a story, Lzyjo, and what a lot of effort put into something that should have been fabulous and then had to be tossed. Grrrrr!!! Don’t you just hate that? Probably happens to me at least once every couple of months, and always with the things that take longest to make! (But in those cases, OFB is a real hero, always eating whatever it is and insisting it’s delicious. I actually have to sneak the leftovers out to the chickens.) As for height, I tried to resist, but now of course I just have to know: How tall ARE you?!! I have at least one (female) friend who’s 6 feet tall, and pretty much everyone I know is at least 5’8″ or 5’9″. I feel like a throwback! Thanks for the Snappy Answers link! And a very Happy Hallowe’en to you all as well!!!

3. Lzyjo - October 29, 2009

I can’t believe there’s something I DIDN’T mention in the first comment, but here goes. Butternut squashes have smaller more tender seeds that can be eaten and roasted in the shell. They also make tremendous pumpkin pie, becuase the flesh has less water content than pumpkin pumpkin. My family uses it exclusively from pumpkin pie. I think it’s a regional/individual preference.

Actually, winter squashes like Butternut and Hubbard are what commercial enterprises can as “‘pumpkin,” Lzyjo, since the flavor and texture is apparently much better than actual pumpkins’! But I hadn’t thought about trying the seeds. Thanks for a great suggestion!

4. nancybond - October 29, 2009

I’ve never roasted pumpkin seeds in their hulls, but I’ll be interested to see what the general consensus is. 😉

Me, too, Nancy! I’m still confused about this.

5. Lzyjo - October 29, 2009

5’9″, though I believe it depends on who measures. 😉 it’s not terribly tall, but I was almost always the tallest in my class and was/am unwieldy and awkward. A lot of teasing too, things like big ugly giant. Acronym: B.U.G. from pubescent boys. Ugggggh. Height and body type are always a burden.

Grrrrr! Here I was thinking you must be 6’2″ at least! 5’9″ is a perfectly normal and respectable height, as noted, half my college friends were that tall, to my huge chagrin. If anyone gives you grief, just kick them (with your 4-inch platform shoes!!!)!

6. fairegarden - October 30, 2009

We have always roasted the seeds out of the pumpkins. The key is to get them nice and crispy, nearly burnt, in a hot oven. You have to watch them carefully. I spray oil on them and salt them before and after roasting. They hardly last an hour, everyone gobbles them up. I wondered what the heck you were talking about with hull less seeds in the other post.

Thanks, Frances, this is a big help! It’s hard to beat hot, crispy and salty!

7. Jen - October 30, 2009

I plan to roast some seeds tonight! I also use Frances’s method of roasting the whole thing on high heat to extra crispyness. One thing I do differently than most is NOT rinse them. I do get as much of the pulp off as I can, but I leave them slimy because it helps with the flavor and the spices cling better – and you only have to spray the sheet – not the seeds. I also use spice blends that include a little cayenne & cumin.

What a great idea to use the butternut squash seeds – I’m gonna try that this year!

Great technique, Jen, thanks!!! I like the idea of spicing them up, too. Hmmm… lots of possibilities are coming to mind…

8. Barbee' - October 31, 2009

And, here I was all these years carefully putting all those seeds (watermelon and cantaloupe, too) out in an easily accessible places for the cardinal birds who dearly love them. Nowadays, though, watermelon seeds are not good enough even for the birds. These new “seedless” cultivated varieties surely took the fun out of eating watermelons and spitting the seeds as I remember it from childhood.

Ha!!! I always loved watermelon but hated getting out the seeds (we weren’t allowed to spit them out, a punishable crime!), especially trying to extract them from melon balls to make them look more, uh, elegant. Or something. (Maybe to keep guests from spitting them out!) At least our chickens still love watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and squash seeds (and guts) though! I have never seen anything as expertly sculpted in my life as a melon rind after the chickens have removed every shred of colored flesh. Flawless! By the way, did you grow up putting salt on your melons? We salted our watermelon and cantaloupe, and my parents actually ate their cantaloupe with salt and pepper! I couldn’t face that, but I still salt watermelon and cantaloupe to this day.

9. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds - November 10, 2009

[…] Clarification: pumpkin seeds. « Poor Richard’s Almanac (ourfriendben.wordpress.com) – October 29, 2009VERY recently I threw out a entire steaming, oven-hot loaf of pumpkin bread because I added unshelled roasted pumpkin seeds (seeds that I spent a ton of time, smooshing out of the guts and then roasti… more Roasted Pumpkin Seeds blog posts … […]

10. Niki Clark - December 31, 2010

All of these seeds (from pumpkins/squash) have nutritional value, but some are more “edible” than others, depending upon how fat the interior of the seed and how tough the hulls. Indeed, there are varieties with very soft hulls and no hulls. The latter are roasted as “pepitas.”

11. tess - December 12, 2011

I always roast my pumpkin seeds. I clean out the pumpkin, putting the seeds in a shallow pan without washing them. I think the pumpkin goo adds flavor, and nutrients. I make a brine of salt and water and put it in the pan. I put the pan in the cookstove with the door ajar. I would guess in a regular stove it would be between 200 and 300 degrees. Then I stir occasionally. When they are dry and crunchy they are done. They have a slight salty, pumpkiny flavor. I usually shell them as I eat them. They don’t last long.

12. Zola Stoltz - October 21, 2014

Everyone who carves r cooks fresh pumpkin (folks I know) talk about the flavor and health properties of the seeds. NEVER has anyone said anything about hulling them, so I thought it would be easy. It was – to roast them, oil sprayed, salted and toasty brown. Then I tried to eat one. I spit what felt like plastic shavings for ten minutes. Does the pre-boiling help tenderize them? Or should I just forget trying t be healthy via pumpkin seeds?

Hi Zola! I wouldn’t skip pepitas/pumpkin seeds, I’d just buy them from the store rather than making your own. I can get such delicious pepitas from the health food store, I’ll never try making my own again!

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