If you're carving pumpkins this weekend, don't throw out the seeds! When I was a kid, my mom always toasted the pumpkin seeds to make a tasty snack that was far more healthy than the sugary treats we collected trick-or-treating. To this day I still like to roast pumpkin seeds. I dug up a few recipes and found that technique varies widely. Classic roast pumpkin seeds are simply tossed with oil (I prefer extra virgin olive oil) and sprinkled with sea salt, then baked in a 300 degree oven for 30-60 minutes until golden brown. The Whole Foods recipe suggests boiling the seeds in salty water before roasting, a step which makes the salt flavor more balanced, and also includes variations for spicy (garlic salt, cumin, coriander, and cardamom) or sweet (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and brown sugar). Some recipes go gourmet by incorporating ingredients such as curry or black tea. Some use a hotter oven and shorter time. Frankly it's hard to screw up, unless you lose track of how long the seeds have been in the oven and burn them. The other way to go wrong is simply not roasting them evenly enough or for sufficient duration, so that they don't get crunchy. Putting the baking sheet on the top rack, stirring the seeds once or twice during roasting and making sure they are browned and crunchy before removing from the oven should do the trick.
This year when we roasted seeds, a couple of friends asked whether I eat the shell or not. I recommend popping the whole thing into the mouth, both because I'm too lazy to shell the seed, and also because all the seasoning is on the outside. But shelling the seeds is certainly acceptable; you probably get the "negative calorie" effect whereby you burn more calories trying to extricate the tiny seed from the shell than you take in from ingesting it. Move over, Atkins and South Beach -- the Consuming Ambitions You-Shell-It Pumpkin Seed diet is here! Now you know why I'm not in marketing.