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How to Make Pepitas
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Q. I carved a bunch of Halloween pumpkins today. How do I make pepitas from the seeds?

A. You can be as lazy or active as you want, but at the very least, you do have to separate them from the slimy strings and innards of the pumpkin and wash them and dry them. Pumpkin seeds are sold in Mexican markets in various forms — in the shell, hulled, raw, toasted, and/or ground. These pepitas may also come from a variety of pumpkins and squash, and may vary in taste and texture from one variety to another. There are also varieties in which the seed does not have a hull.

(continued from home page) If you'd like to make your own, you can simply bag them and freeze then in the hull. Many recipes we've come across in Mexican cookbooks are looking for hulled, raw pepitas (although the seeds are generally toasted in the process of preparing the dish), so you might like to remove them from the hull before storing them in the freezer.

Hulling the seeds can be a lot of work. But one method some people swear by involves breaking up the seeds with a rolling pin or hammer, then dropping them in a pail of water. Stir vigorously to separate the seeds from the hulls, and the seeds will sink to the bottom, while the shells float.

If you'd like to toast the hulled seeds, heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add the seeds. They will begin to pop, at which point, you should begin stirring them for 4 to 5 minutes, until all are toasted and have popped. Salt them and enjoy them as a snack or wrap them tightly and freeze until ready to use. They will stay fresh in the freezer for at least 6 months.

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