Drying or roasting pumpkin seeds is a great way to store a nutrition-packed snack in your pantry for months after you are done carving your Halloween pumpkins. After carving pumpkins with my family this year, I didn’t want the pumpkin seeds to go to waste, which are a powerful source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. One ounce, or about 1/3 cup, contains 5 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of healthy fats.
Washing and drying your seeds is super easy, and worth the effort for all that nutrition. You can store the seeds for later, or roast and eat them right away! If you just dry out your seeds (no roasting), they can last for up to a year if stored in a cool pantry. After roasting, you can keep them in your pantry for up to 2 months.
Here are the super easy steps below.
STEP 1: HOW TO WASH PUMPKIN SEEDS
- Place pumpkin seeds in a bowl (along with stringy pulp), and fill the bowl with water. 2. Gently massage the seeds with your hands to separate them from the pumpkin pulp. As the seeds separate, they float to the top of the water, where you can easily scoop them out.3. Place the seeds into a colander and run water over them to rinse off any remaining pumpkin strings.4. Pour the pumpkin seeds onto a clean kitchen towel, and gently pat them dry (they will not become completely dry – this is just to get off any excess water from washing them).
STEP 2: CHOOSE TO DRY OR ROAST YOUR PUMPKIN SEEDS
Once your pumpkin seeds have been cleaned, you basically have two choices: 1) dry and store the seeds (with no oil or seasonings) for longer term storage 2) Roast and store the seeds for consumption within the next 2 months.
When choosing whether to merely dry and store, or roast your pumpkin seeds, the important thing to consider is whether or not you want to eat your seeds within the next couple of months, or save them for later use. Dried seeds last for about a year, whereas seeds roasted in oil last for up to 2 months in your pantry. If you merely dry your seeds without roasting them in oil and seasonings, you will have more versatility in recipes and for use later.
OPTION 1: DRY YOUR SEEDS (easiest and can be preserved up to 1 year)
- Turn your oven to the lowest setting – mine was 170 degrees – so that it is warm, not hot (you just want to dry the moisture out of your seeds, not roast them). Place your pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet, spreading them out so that they are in one layer without overlapping as much as possible. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 3-4 hours, or until they are dry, stirring each hour.
2. After the seeds have dried, allow them to cool completely before storing (if you store them while they are still warm, that can cause moisture to develop in your storage container and cause mold growth). Put the dried, cooled seeds into an airtight container, and store in a cool, dark pantry. How long they last depends on storage conditions – the cooler, drier, and darker the storage, the longer they last for up to 1 year.
SOMETHING TO AVOID: When I was first experimenting, I just let my seeds dry overnight, without drying them out in the oven. Since they seemed to be completely dry in the morning, I just threw them into a storage container in my pantry. Mistake! About a week later, I noticed fuzzy white mold growing on the seeds. So even if your seeds appear to be dry, do NOT skip the step of drying them out in your oven!
OPTION 2: ROAST YOUR SEEDS (enjoy for immediate snacking, or in your pantry for up to 2 months)
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
- After washing your seeds and patting them dry, toss them in a little bit of olive oil (about 1 tsp per cup of seeds) and salt to taste.
- Spread seeds onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Place your baking sheet in the oven, and roast the seeds for 10 minutes. Remove the seeds from the oven, stir, and roast them for another 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the seeds from the oven, and allow them to cool completely. Place cooled seeds in an airtight storage container, and store in a cool pantry for up to 2 months. Pull them out whenever you want a healthy, protein-filled snack!
Options for storing pumpkin seeds:
- Canning jar (This is my preferred method, because it is airtight, keeps bugs out, and I am able to see through the jar to make sure none of the seeds are becoming moldy.)
- Airtight ziplock bags
- Vacuum packaging
- Airtight plastic container
- Pack food in amounts that can be used all at once (food is exposed to air and moisture every time it is opened, which decreases quality).
- For dried seeds to last the longest and maintain their nutrition, it is important to store them in a cool, dry, dark area. If you don’t have a cool pantry to store them in, you can also store them in your refrigerator or freezer. When they are stored at cooler temperatures, they last longer.