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How to Peel Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin is a versatile vegetable that can be used in soups, as a roasted side dish or in custards and pies. The flesh can be boiled or roasted for differing flavors and recipes. When cleaning out a pumpkin, don't discard the seeds, which are delicious either boiled or roasted. Pumpkin seeds come in a tough shell, or hull. While the hull is edible, you may prefer to peel it away if it is particularly thick or hard. This takes time, but the resulting soft seeds make a healthy snack, and can be used in place of sunflower seeds in recipes.

Fill a large pot with 1 quart of water for every 2 cups of seeds. Add 2 tablespoons salt per quart of water.

Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds, then cover and boil for 30 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and pour the pumpkin seeds into a colander to drain. Let them cool until they are cool enough to touch.

Pick up a seed and pull off the shell with your other hand. It will easily slip off the seed. Place the hulled seed in a bowl.

Pumpkin seeds can be eaten raw or cooked. To toast them, spray or oil a pan and spread a layer of seeds on it. Salt them, and then cook in a 300-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. You can experiment with different seasonings in addition to or in place of salt, such as garlic powder.


Shelled pumpkin seeds are also sold at grocery stores under the name pepitas.

Shells are removable after roasting, but it is more time consuming.

Hull-less varieties of pumpkins exist. These seed shells are so thin they don't require removal.


The oils in pumpkin seeds may cause them to go rancid. Store pumpkin seeds in a sealed bag or container in the fridge for up to 14 days, or place them in the freezer for long-term storage.

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