“You are what you eat.”
This saying always got on my nerves.
If it were true, then I would be a walking talking tomato, with slices of pizza for arms, a scoop of ice cream for a head and cookies for feet.
But nope, I’m 100% human. And for the record, while I do love a good cannibal joke, I’m proud to say I’ve never eaten another human.
Several years ago, Chaser and I took a vacation to Jamaica and practically ate our weight in jerk chicken. Later that trip, he popped the big question and asked me to marry him. I said yes! Shockingly, the chicken hadn’t turned either of us into jerks.
Being the beach folk we are, we’ve always been big fans of reggae music. On that trip, we added lots of new tunes to our collection, including a little ditty by Tenor Saw, called “Pumpkin Belly.”
Since then, every year when the fall pumpkin frenzy begins, we start walking around the house singing it all day.
“Oh wah do wah do a pumpkin belly? Woaaah! Ehh!”
No. Those are totally not the correct lyrics, but that’s just how we prefer to sing songs. “Barbara Ann” will always be “Bop around” and “Eminence Front” will always be “You live and then you work (go home!).”
Don’t judge us.
So now, we’re just getting to that critical point in October when everyone starts getting their pumpkin-carve on. If you do it too early they get moldy by the time Halloween rolls around.
A night of pumpkin carving is always fun, but what makes it even better is having a bowl of salty roasted pumpkin seeds to snack on.
Every year I mess around with different flavor combinations, and this year I drew my inspiration from our favorite October sing-a-long. After all, the seeds are found in the pumpkin’s belly. Ya mon.
If you aren’t spooked by a little spice, then give these babies a try. I promise they’ll leave you feelin’ irie, and definitely won’t turn you into a jerk.
Jerk Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Yield: 2 cups
Cook Time: 40 minutes (30 minutes inactive)
Whether you use this flavor combination or not, you should ABSOLUTELY use this method for brining the seeds prior to roasting. It will amp up your pumpkin seed game big time, even if you’re just roasting them plain.
The brining process does two things. It allows the seeds to absorb the salt, and also draws out some of their natural moisture. This results in a seed that’s seasoned from the inside out, and produces a crispier, crunchier texture, making them completely irresistible.
I prefer to make my own jerk seasoning (recipe below), but you can always use a store bought blend in a pinch.
2 cups pumpkin seeds from one large jack-o-lantern, pulp removed
2 quarts water
4 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon jerk seasoning (recipe below), divided
Place the pumpkin seeds in a medium saucepan with the water and salt. Bring up to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain completely, then spread out on to towels to dry. Try to remove as much moisture as possible.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the seeds with the oil and half of the jerk seasoning, then spread out evenly on a sheet pan. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until they become golden brown and crisp. Give them a shake and stir them around half way through to ensure even cooking. Toss with the remaining seasoning while they are still hot, then allow them to cool down and serve.
These will keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks, but in our house they never last that long.
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
Combine all ingredients completely and store in an airtight container.