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Make your own roasted pumpkin seeds

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Don't waste the insides when you carve your pumpkin into a jack o lantern. Take those gooey white seeds and roast them in the oven! Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber and vitamins B and E. With more than 1.7 billion pounds of pumpkins sold in the US between 2004 and 2006, all those discarded seeds take up a frightening amount of space in the landfill. And though you might be thinking of composting the seeds, they tend to sprout instead of break down, so they're better suited to feed your family than your garden.

How to make your own roasted pumpkin seeds

roasted pumpkin seedsFollow this recipe, courtesy of Fabulous Foods, for traditional roasted pumpkin seeds:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees farenheit
  2. Clean off the strings and pulp from the seeds It's OK to leave some, but be sure to get the large chunks off. Do not wash with water, just pull the pulp away.
  3. In a mixing bowl, toss 1 1/2 cups cleaned pumpkin seeds with 2 teaspoons of melted butter or olive oil and salt to taste
  4. Spread the pumpkin seeds on an oiled cookie sheet in a single layer
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are golden brown

Try these gourmet variations on the original by substituting the seasoning:

  • Italian style: Italian seasoning blend, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • Pumpkin pie: Cinnamon, ground ginger and a pinch of nutmeg, butter
  • Greek style: Lemon pepper seasoning blend, oregano, salt, olive oil
  • Buffalo wing: Butter, tabasco sauce, salt
  • Mexican style: Chili powder and lime juice
  • Savory: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, and 2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
  • Halloween style: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice.
  • Spicy: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Or customize your own spice blend using seasonings like:

  • Garlic powder or garlic salt
  • Seasoning salt
  • Black pepper
  • Salt-free seasoning blend, such as Mrs. Dash brand
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cajun seasoning blend
  • Grated hard cheeses

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Another eco-friendly Halloween treat idea: The insides of big jack o lantern pumpkins are no good for eating. But, you can buy small pie pumpkins, decorate them with craft supplies (look at http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/crafts/no-carve-pumpkin-decorating for ideas) and then make a delicious, organic pumpkin pie (or soup or dip) when you're done. No waste!

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