If you’re carving a pumpkin, baking a pumpkin pie, or cooking a seasonal soup, you may notice a forlorn pile of pumpkin seeds left behind. Don’t throw these into your compost pile or the garbage! There are many brilliant, creative ways to use leftover pumpkin seeds. From fun recipes and snacks to educational crafts, pumpkin seeds have a wide variety of uses that everyone can benefit from.
How to use leftover pumpkin seeds
Before you try out any of the ideas on this list, you’ll want to clean the orange clumps off of your pumpkin seeds. Soak them in water for a few minutes and clear away the extra bits of the pumpkin, so you have clean seeds with no pumpkin juice on them. Lay your pumpkins seeds to dry on a piece of paper towel to allow excess water to drain.
1. Create a tasty pumpkin seed snack
The easiest, most delicious solution for leftover pumpkin seeds is to toast them. Toasted pumpkin seeds are a tasty seasonal snack, but they’re also good for you. High in protein and healthy fats, they contain a rich blend of nutrients like iron, magnesium, B2, and beta-carotene. Throw them in a bag and enjoy them when you get hungry between meals.
Here’s how to bake your own pumpkin seed snack:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Toss clean pumpkin seeds in a bowl with a spoonful of olive or avocado oil.
- Lightly sprinkle salt, pepper, and a herb like paprika, dill, or garlic powder on the pumpkin seeds. Try using spices you aren’t familiar with to explore a new world of flavour.
- Toast your pumpkin seeds in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they’re lightly browned.
2. Feed the birds
Autumn is a lovely time to observe birds in your backyard or local park. You can befriend your neighbourhood birds with tasty pumpkin seeds. After you’ve cleaned and dried your seeds, bundle up in a cozy sweater and head outside with your seeds. Don’t season seeds when sharing with wild friends; animals prefer seeds raw and unseasoned. You can add pumpkin seeds to the feed already in your bird feeder or throw some on the grass to attract birds. This is also a fun way to encourage kids or loved ones to connect with nature. Look out for larger birds like Cardinals or Nuthatches who enjoy pumpkin seeds. Squirrels enjoy pumpkin seeds too, so keep that in mind when you’re sharing your seeds. Some squirrels or chipmunks will come to eat the pumpkin seeds right from your hand, which is especially exciting for the kids!
3. Grow your own pumpkins
If you have a free plot of land, try growing our own pumpkin patch right at home. You’ll want to choose large seeds because they’re the easiest to propagate. Plant your seeds one inch below the soil in a sunny or lightly shaded area. The best time to plant pumpkins is usually in late spring to mid-summer, so you may want to wait to plant them at the most opportune time. Once you’ve cleaned and dried your seeds, place them in an envelope and store in the back of your fridge until you’re ready to plant them. Then when it’s time, you can grow your own pumpkin from home.
4. Get creative with pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a great size for crafting, jewellery making and kid’s crafts. Once you’ve cleaned your seeds, let them dry for eight hours. Don’t overdry seeds if you’re planning on making a hole in them because they’ll grow more brittle with time. String a needle with thread, and create a pumpkin seed necklace, or use super glue to make a pumpkin seed sculpture. Kids may enjoy decorating and colouring seeds to make tiny faces, collage art, or abstract art pieces.
5. Cook, bake, and season with pumpkin seeds
If you’re not excited about eating toasted pumpkin seeds on their own, you may enjoy them as a delicious topping for soups, salads, toast, or pizzas. Toast your pumpkin seeds and experiment with different spices and flavourings for each batch of seeds for flavourful toppings. If you have a sweet tooth, add nutritional value to muffins, cookies, and more with your leftover pumpkin seeds. Keep them in a mason jar to combine with recipes throughout the fall season.
More fun ideas for leftover pumpkin seeds
If you’re making a whole row of jack-o’-lanterns this Halloween, you may have more seeds than you know what to do with. Here are some other fun ideas to spark your imagination.