Some of my clearest memories of living in Bloomington, MN, as a child are of fall produce stacked in an open cinder-block stand run by college students.
In those days, I didn’t like squash—it took sweet, tender-fleshed Delicata, developed in the 1990s by plant researchers at Oregon State, to change my mind about that—but I loved the saturated colors and the ripe promise of fruitfulness.
I’m not much of a pumpkin carver, either, but I do value those Sugar Pie eating pumpkins in the market now (see Pumpkin-Leek Ravioli). I let my brothers carve the pumpkins: I was all for the seeds.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Preheat the oven to 250 F. You can use any amount of seeds. If I’m also roasting a squash, I add squash seeds to the mix, but they cook up fibrous and chewy.
Separate the seeds from the pulp. The easiest way to do this is to plunge your hands into the stringy insides before they are scooped out of the pumpkin. Use your fingers as filters to liberate those seeds. Don’t wash them! The bits of pulp add to the flavor.
Lay the seeds in a single layer (they’ll clump, not to worry) on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with a small amount—1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon, depending on how many seeds—melted butter or olive oil.
Bake 40-60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes or so (this is the point at which the clumps get broken up).