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How to Harvest Pumpkin Seeds and Blossoms
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 joyfoodsunshine.com).
Harvesting Pumpkin Blossoms:
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.