Want to learn how to make pumpkin seeds straight from the pumpkin for a healthy alternative to roasting methods?
Use those whole unshelled seeds from your Halloween pumpkin and make a healthy nutritious snack food for you and your family.
Sure, you can bake them in an oven, but another way to make them without high heat is to use a dehydrator.
Much like unshelled sunflower seeds, the end result will give you a tasty snack to crack open and munch on.
They are delicious salted and even though they’re not officially "roasted", they have a very nice toasted flavor and textural crunch we think you will enjoy!
It's a great way to utilize the "whole pumpkin" if you're making a homemade pumpkin soup or a pumpkin pie.
This simple "how to make pumpkin seeds" procedure is also incidentally a good one to share with young children before or after jack-o'-lantern creations.
As far as dehydrators go, we have a 9-tray Excalibur. We like the slide-out trays for ease of use, but other types will also suffice.
There are a few steps involved. Nothing super complicated, but here we include some things below that will help you achieve a great salted or unsalted shelled pumpkin seed every time.
Most all species of pumpkin and even squash will work for this, but a larger pumpkin will invariably give you larger seeds.
We, of course, always recommend using non-GMO and organically certified pumpkins when they are available.
1) Cut Your Pumpkin and Remove Seeds- Cut open your pumpkin. If you're carving for a traditional Halloween jack-o'-lantern, you can cut of the top and reach in and scoop out the seeds. If you’re using it for a recipe, you can simply cut it in half and remove the seeds with your hands and a spoon.
2) Rinse Seeds and Strain - Place your unshelled white seeds in a bowl. Remove any stringy bits of pulp best you can. Rinse the seeds in pure filtered water, swishing them around to remove any more excess pumpkin pulp. This pulp will usually sink to the bottom of the bowl. Strain off the seeds into another bowl.
3) Laying Out Your Seeds - Lay out your whole pumpkin seeds onto a dehydrator tray with a screen. Spread them out flat on several trays if necessary. We have found that it is best to put them aside for a day and let them naturally dry a bit before the actual dehydrating process.
4) Dehydrating the Pumpkin Seeds - Place them in the dehydrator and dehydrate on 105 °F (40 °C) for about 8 hours or until completely dry. You can taste test to make sure. It will take less time if you dry them out beforehand as mentioned.
(Tip: When dehydrating it is best to place a tray with a non-stick sheet underneath, to catch any skins that may fall through.)
5) Transferring Seeds and Papery Hull Skins - After dehydrating is complete, you will notice that thin translucent papery skins have peeled off the hulls. These need to be removed. To do this, take your screen of seeds and fold them into a big bowl. Cover this with a cloth (as the skins will tend to fly all over the place). Take outside to a garden location or somewhere you don't mind releasing the skins to be composted.
6) Removing the Skins - In the bowl rub the seeds a bit with your hands, then lay them out on a tray. Take a blow dryer on cool setting and blow off the skins. (Or, taking a deep breath and blowing works too.) They are light and fairly easy to separate.
7) Salting the Seeds - This is the point when we like to salt the seeds, using either pink Himalayan salt or Celtic salt, after the skins have been removed. To do this you will need to moist them just slightly so the salt will stick. Dip your hand in pure water and rub the skins, then sprinkle with salt. Dehydrate for 1 hour to set the salt layer and remove any excess moisture.
You can also experiment with adding various spices during the salting stage, sometimes we like to add nutritional yeast, cayenne, beet powder or turmeric.
Unshelled dehydrated pumpkin seeds can be stored in an airtight container or glass jar. They will last a very long time when dried well.