How to Use Leftover Pumpkin Seeds

When it comes to carving pumpkins, there are no rules. You can make a silly pumpkin, a scary pumpkin, or a traditionally carved pumpkin.

When it comes to carving pumpkins, there are no rules. You can make a silly pumpkin, a scary pumpkin, or a traditionally carved pumpkin. But with so many possibilities, what are you supposed to do with all of those leftover pumpkin seeds? This Halloween season, soak the pumpkin’s insides in water to quickly separate the seeds from the rest of the pulp then check out these unique ways to use the seeds.

1. Toast ‘em

Did you know that pumpkin seeds are a healthy snack? They are high in protein, low in fat, and they take well to many different seasonings. Just toss the seeds with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Add a bit of coarse salt and you have a delicious snack that’s also nutritious! For spiced toasted pumpkin seeds add a pinch of both chili powder and paprika before you bake the seeds.

2. Make candy

Halloween is a time for candy, so why not use pumpkin seeds to create even more! All you need is pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), sugar, honey, and butter for a tasty and addicting pumpkin seed brittle. Try this Pumpkin Seed Candy recipe.

3. String them along

If your taste buds don’t warm up to the flavor of pumpkin seeds, use them as an accessory. After soaking the seeds to separate them from the pulp, lay them out on a paper towel and let them dry for no more than 6 to 8 hours (if they become too dry, the seeds will be hard to work with). Use a needle and a beading cord to string the pumpkin seeds into a necklace. Make them into patterns by piercing them horizontally and vertically, or make knots in between the seeds to make spaces. Either way, you now have a new unique piece of jewelry!

4. Feed the birds

For a quick, easy, and useful way to get rid of pumpkin seeds, simply feed them to the birds. After separating the pulp and drying them out, just leave the pumpkin seeds in a bird feeder and watch as beautiful birds, such as blue jays and cardinals, feast on your surprising feed. Smaller birds will not be attracted due to the bigger size of the pumpkin seeds; however, you can hull the seeds if you would like to feed smaller birds.

5. Grow a pumpkin patch

If you have a lot of land or a sufficient amount of space in your garden, you may consider growing your own pumpkin patch – it’s easier than you think. Keep the pumpkin seeds from this year’s Halloween carvings and begin planting them after the final frost of next year (usually mid-March to May depending on where you live). Create beds about 2’ deep and 5’ wide to fill with compost and soil. Stick your finger in the mound about 2” deep, drop in a few seeds, and cover loosely with soil. Remember to space the beds out by several feet, as pumpkin plants tend to get very big. Also, make sure to water the plants well, but try to avoid watering the leaves, as this could promote diseases in the pumpkin plants.


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Originally Published in Reader's Digest