I’ll admit, reaching into the depths of a pumpkin to de-gut it is not my favorite thing to do. It’s slimy, it’s sticky, and it feels like one of those mystery boxes at haunted houses where you put your hands in and they tell you it’s a pile of brains.
But deep in the innards are the edible seeds of Cucurbita pepo, a family of squash that includes pumpkins, acorn squash, summer squash, and zucchini. The seeds from all of these cucurbits are equally edible, but I tend to come across pumpkin seeds more often, since one carving pumpkin will yield at least a couple of cups. And if your whole house is sculpting and slicing up pumpkins, you’ll have enough seeds to do them up three different ways.
Once I got over the initial trepidation that a pumpkin could grow inside of me if I swallowed the seeds (a tale told to me by numerous adults when I was 5, tales that also included watermelon seeds and sunflower seeds), I grew to love toasted pumpkin seeds. Salt and butter were all that I needed (and is still a classic no-fail recipe in my book), but I also love to experiment with different seasonings. Here are three of my favorite recipes — and favorite way to eat them? Handfuls at a time, washed down with a cold pumpkin ale!