Q: "We are vegetarian and eat a lot of pumpkin and also (bought) pumpkin seeds. I have been unable to convert the seeds from my pumpkin into seeds that I buy! The latter are very expensive and it irritates me that I put a load in the compost bin regularly then go and buy them in the supermarket! I have tried cleaning and drying them in the oven with no luck, there must be something else in the process. Can you enlighten me?"
A: We asked Nutritionist Tish Chalmers about pumpkin seeds:
"I think Alison is probably not removing the hull or seed-coat from her seeds. Pumpkin seeds in the pumpkins we normally get tend to have thick hulls, which are hard to remove when fresh. You may never be able to produce seeds exactly like those in the supermarket as they are usually imported and come from pumpkin varieties which produce hull-less seeds. However, you can still make your own. After washing the seeds, dry them in the oven at a low temperature (50-70°C), stirring frequently, for 2-4 hours depending on the size of the seed. Once they are dry, break or cut them open and you will find the 'meat' inside the seed, which will be similar to the seeds you buy. The hulls can be left on and are edible although they can be very hard on your teeth! It is worthwhile to break open some seeds throughout the drying process to check whether the 'meat' has dried out sufficiently and ensure they do not get over-done."