How to Harvest Pumpkin Seeds and Blossoms

Pumpkins are a quintessential fall delight in Canada, and we've come up with some wonderfully inventive ways to make the most of them, savor their vibrant colors, and indulge in their delightful flavors. From jack-o-lanterns and soups to sandwiches, home decor, musical shakers, and the beloved pumpkin spice lattes, we've explored a myriad of creative applications. But amidst all this innovation, it's easy to overlook some of the pumpkin's simplest components: its seeds and blossoms. Typically, when you carve a jack-o-lantern or prepare a fall dish, the seeds and blossoms end up in the trash. Embarking on a zero-waste journey and maximizing your pumpkin harvest is surprisingly straightforward. That's why we're sharing straightforward methods that will become a staple for every fall harvest.

Harvesting Pumpkin Seeds:

Slice Off the Top

Just as you would when preparing a pumpkin for carving, take a sharp, robust knife (one with serrations can be helpful) to cut a "lid" around the pumpkin's upper portion, then lift it off.

Scoop Out the Seeds

Use a large metal spoon to scoop out the pulp and seeds. Employ the spoon to scrape the inside walls of the pumpkin to remove as much of the stringy pulp as possible.

Separate the Seeds

Place the pulp and seeds in a large bowl of water. As you manually separate the seeds, you'll observe that most of them will sink to the bottom, making them easier to distinguish. Rinse the seeds in a colander while gently agitating them to remove any remaining pulp.

Allow to Dry

Spread out the seeds on a paper towel or parchment paper to allow them to air dry. They should feel dry to the touch but can continue to dry out further when roasted.

Roast (and Season)

Preheat the oven to 275°F. Lay out the seeds on a baking sheet and drizzle them with your preferred cooking oil. This is the perfect opportunity to add seasonings, from simple choices like salt and pepper to more elaborate combinations such as cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, allspice, lemon, cajun seasoning, and more.

Give this Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seed recipe a try for a festive snack (courtesy of


Harvesting Pumpkin Blossoms:

Pluck Them

This is the simplest part. Pinch the base of the pumpkin blossom and pluck it directly from its stem. It's also a good idea to rinse the blossoms in cold water and gently pat them dry before cooking. The same picking and cooking techniques can be applied to all varieties of squash blossoms. Pumpkin blossoms are particularly versatile due to their size and sturdy petals, which can withstand cooking.

Choose a Cooking Method

RAW: Pumpkin blossoms, along with other squash blossoms, can be consumed as they are, making them a perfect addition to a fall green salad.

FRIED: Fried squash blossoms offer a surprisingly light and fresh flavor, especially when prepared in a tempura batter, which is ideal for quick frying without overcooking the blossom's interior. Explore this Pumpkin Flower Tempura Recipe from Chef DePaprika for a fast and genuinely traditional tempura frying technique.

STUFFED: Pumpkin blossoms tend to be larger than other squash blossoms like zucchini, making them perfect for stuffing. There are numerous stuffing ideas available, including Thai Pork-Stuffed Squash Blossoms. However, our favorite fall recipe is the Market Stuffed Squash Blossoms from A Spicy Perspective, which features a delightful filling of goat cheese and dried cherries, making it an ideal dish for a holiday dinner.