You know the word “hangry” – I think it was made for me. I get angry when I’m hungry, and my mom knew the best way to handle that. Snacks!
Growing up my mom always made sure there were enough snacks around the kitchen, and they were usually the healthy kind – mostly roasted nuts and salted chickpeas. There was also always fresh fruit in the fridge. Watermelon and cantaloupe were popular during the warm Indian summer months. But they served another purpose. Towards the end of the season, my mom would start saving the seeds. She would spread them out on newspaper and leave them out to dry in the sun. They would end up as one of my favourite and part of our snack rotation – dried cantaloupe seeds – kharbooze ke beej.
Living in Canada so far away from the land of my childhood I yearn for the comfort food I grew up on. I also want my kids to share in the same warmth and aroma of my childhood, and that means I spend more time than I’d like in the kitchen. At the same time, I seek out shortcuts that save me time and bring me OUT of the kitchen. Raw and shelled pumpkin seeds is one of those healthy shortcuts, with none of the scooping and drying in the sun. And my kids have ended up loving them too, as long as they come toasted and sweetened with a sprinkle of Himalayan pink salt.
And as it turns out, pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses. High in zinc, these tiny little immunity boosters are good for managing stress and maintaining overall digestive and mental health. These make delicious portable snacks and since this recipe is nut-free, allergen free, this wholesome snack is allowed in school.
Candied pumpkin seeds also make a delicious snack to offer around Diwali. Not just for fall though, pumpkin seeds have become an all-season pantry staple in our house
So here goes!
Toasted and Candied Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are already full of flavour and I buy them by the bagful at my local Bulk Barn. Toasted and candied not only do they make delicious snack bites on their own they can also be used in a ton of different ways. On top of salads and hummus, butternut squash soup and Thai curry and beet soup – you get the drift. You could even throw them at your Prime Minister to protest the building of a pipeline. But I wouldn’t recommend it, and definitely not the candied ones – raw will do just as fine.
Real-Life Kitchen Tips
- Buy raw and shelled pumpkin seeds. The pre-roasted, salted ones aren’t right for this recipe.
- At the end of the recipe spread the candied pumpkin seeds out on a baking pan in a low-heat oven for 10 mins. They will get crispy and last longer in the pantry.
- I use canola oil to start this recipe off because it has such little flavour and odour of its own that it is perfect for this recipe.
- 1 cup of Pumpkin Seeds raw and shelled
- 1/4 cup of Sugar brown, turbinado, cane work best here
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt to finish it
- 1 tsp of Canola Oil to coat the pan.
Add the oil in the pan and heat it through.
Add in the pumpkin seeds and toss them around. It will take approx. 10 mins of med-low heat but let them toast a little and some will even change colour.
Add in the sugar and toss.
Stir and let he sugar blend and coat the pumpkin seeds
Turn the heat off and spread them out on a baking sheet
Let them finish in the oven at 250 degrees Faherheit. They will crisp up a little and make sure they don't get clumpy in the jar
Afterwards let them cool completely and store in an airtight glass jar. Unless you and the kids have finished them while you were waiting for them to cool down. And that's OK too!