Pumpkin seeds can make a nutritious snack that is traditional in various parts of the world. The most common way to prepare them is to bake them. It is a good idea to season them. Some of the best spices for pumpkin seeds are:
Pumpkin seeds are supposed to be a crunchy snack. They take on their crisp texture only after being cooked properly. Some experts recommend boiling them first and then baking them in oil and seasonings to ensure thorough cooking and so that the hull of the seed becomes dry and crisp.
Olive oil is key to achieving the right texture while also contributing flavor and health benefits. Olive oil’s herbaceous savory properties will greatly complement the nutty taste of roasted pumpkin seeds. The oil will also help the seeds to take on an attractive golden color. Bake at a moderate temperature to keep both the oil and the pumpkin seeds from burning.
One of the most important savory spices, garlic is a great addition to pumpkin seeds. Two of your best options are garlic powder or garlic oil. Both forms are great for thoroughly seasoning the seeds and are less likely to burn in the oven.
Garlic offers a strong earthy umami flavor profile with a little nuttiness that will help to enhance the savory properties of pumpkin seeds. Garlic will help to turn what can be bland seeds into a truly flavorful salty snack.
One of the most widely used spices, black pepper works well with the other spices that you can use on salty pumpkin seeds. When you use pre-ground black pepper, the spice will add a mild heat to the pumpkin seeds but not much else.
Freshly ground black pepper will add a stronger heat along with woodsy citrus flavor and aroma. Ideally, you will want to use the finest grind possible to ensure that it sticks to the hulls of the seeds.
If you want more heat than you can get from black pepper, cayenne pepper is your next best option. It is considerably spicier than black pepper and doesn’t have much flavor other than the heat so it won’t clash with any of your other seasonings.
You can control the level of heat by adding more or less. The fine texture of cayenne pepper powder allows it to stick well to the hulls of the seeds. Along with its heat, cayenne pepper will give your pumpkin seeds a bright red color that many find appetizing.
While salt may seem to be an obvious choice in any savory dish, it is particularly important for pumpkin seeds. Salt is what helps all the other seasonings to work. It will also help to cover any bitter notes from the seeds.
Any culinary salt will work but your best option will be a sea salt that will provide a clean salty taste. You can also try popcorn salt, which is finer than regular table salt. The fine grains will allow the salt flavor to be more evenly distributed among the pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin seeds can be sweet or savory. Sweet pumpkin seeds will usually involve cinnamon paired with sugar. For sweet pumpkin seeds, you should coat the seeds in neutral-tasting oil like refined olive oil or canola oil.