If you are tired of the standard dish-o-nuts on the table at parties, try utilizing your jack-o-lantern by-products. They are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, oleic acid and even tryptophan (nature’s sleeping panacea).

I’ve tried to cook these a couple of times, and I burned them to a crisp in both attempts. So follow directions–once I looked in an actual recipe book, I discovered two essential factors: low heat and a bit of oil. And that was my second try…I still burned them because I tried to keep it simple and use my toaster oven (yes, I’ve had one since college…you can take my microwave, but I’m not giving up the toaster oven.)

The third time was the charm. I’ve included two recipes…my own spicy version, and Kristin Meier’s sweet variety. Try them both and let us know which is your favorite!


I coated with a bit of flaxseed oil (though any vegetable oil will work) and sprinkled with a partial packet of organic chili seasoning. I baked in the regular oven at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes, until they are crunchy and not too chewy.

Crispy, a bit spicy and gone before they were cool. Perfect fall party pleaser.


3 c pumpkin seeds

2 T grape seed oil

1-2 T cinnamon

1-2 T pumpkin pie spice

1/8 t cayenne pepper, optional

1 T vanilla

1 T molasses

1 T agave

Scoop seeds out of pumpkin, rinse them in hot water in a collander and leave them out to dry.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place pumpkin seeds in a large bowl and toss with other ingredients listed above.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, stirring once. Let cool and store in an airtight container.  

Enjoy plain or as a topping on oatmeal, baked apples, soups, or salads. 

by Kristin Meier