Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Salted, roasted, pumpkin seeds

Jerry Stratton, October 25, 2023

As we continue our quest to use all of Jack’s body parts, it is time to progress to his innards. Here is a simple, delicious use for your Hallowe’en pumpkin’s seeds. Jack’s got guts, I’ll say that for him!

Servings: 1
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Mary Monette
St. Mary’s Altar Society Cookbooks


  • pumpkin (or squash) seeds
  • water
  • salt
  • butter (optional)
  • favorite spices (optional)


  1. Separate and rinse the pumpkin seeds, taking out all of the strings you can.
  2. Soak the pumpkin seeds in heavily salted water overnight. Use about 1 tablespoon of salt per cup of water.
  3. Drain the seeds and pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. Spread onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Baked at 325° for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Transfer to a bowl.
  7. Optionally, mix in butter while hot to melt it, and/or add more salt or other spices as desired.
Jack shows he’s got guts: Jack-o-lantern: “Jack shows he’s got guts.”; Hallowe’en; pumpkins

The process of making a jack-o-lantern is truly a gory one, well-suited for Hallowe’en. Depending on your proclivities, the most gorious is that all of Jack’s slimy viscera must be removed, usually by reaching in and tearing them out by hand. It’s a messy process, but without it your jack-o-lantern will rot much faster, and won’t be able to hold a candle securely or keep it lit.

But Jack’s innards don’t all have to be tossed. When looking for a good use for pumpkins this year, I was surprised to find that I hadn’t already posted this recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds. I love pumpkin seeds, and this recipe is so good and so easy I use it year-round for other squash seeds, such as the butternut squash I made yesterday as I write this.

Pumpkin seeds are the best of squashes for edible seeds. They’re a great size and have more meat. All of the seeds from inside the pumpkin should be kept for this great salty snack.

Clearing the seeds off Jack’s gut-strings is a further mess but well worth the work. The easiest way I’ve found to clean them is to put the guts into a big bowl, cover them with water, and then remove the seeds by hand. Many will come out easily; others will have to be pulled loose from the wet, stringy entrails. The seeds usually separate easily by squeezing them at the point where they attach to the strings.

When I wrote last year that “I’ve taken to carving two Hallowe’en pumpkins so that I have more body parts left over” a good part of it was so that I’ll have more pumpkin seeds. It’s very easy to go through an entire pumpkin’s seeds very quickly.

Toasted pumpkin seeds: Mary Monette’s Pumpkin Seeds (Good Snacks), from the 1981 St. Michael’s School Cook Book.; salty snacks; pumpkins

Pumpkin seeds flavored with chili-powder and butter on the left, and with butter and salt on the right.

You’ll need to carve the pumpkins at least a day ahead of when you need the seeds: the critical step in this recipe compared to more complicated recipes is that the seeds need to be soaked in very salty water overnight. This, I suspect, tenderizes the seeds as well as infuses them with flavor. Previous recipes I’ve tried tended to make chewier pumpkin seeds with less flavor, even if they used more spices.

The basic recipe here, without added butter and even without added salt beyond soaking them in salt water, is great as is. However, I’ve also added chili powder, curry powder, or adobo powder, either with butter or with olive oil, and those embellishments are great, too. But don’t discount the unadorned, baked seeds for a lightly salted snack. They’re already salted from the soaking, and I’d recommend trying them simply baked first.

It really is worth making these just for the basic recipe.

So, let Jack show you he not only has guts, but very tasty guts! This is the perfect accompiment to the Hallowe’en soups I’ve highlighted in previous years. Whether you are—as I am—dedicated to repurposing as much of Jack’s body parts as possible, or if you just want a light snack for Hallowe’en that isn’t loaded with sugar and oil, consider toasting his brains out.

It’s the least you can do for the Jack-o-Lantern that protects your house and home from evil on the most evil night of the year.

In response to Holiday food: From Christmas to Easter to Independence Day and more, holidays are times for sharing great food.

  1. <- Bicentennial meal
  2. Candy-cane ice cream ->