Pepitas are a traditional food that has been eaten for at least the last 10,000 years. You can cook pepitas, which are the healthy seeds of squash and pumpkins, in the oven. But my favorite way uses a cast iron skillet and takes only about 5 minutes.
You can buy pumpkin seeds, which are very similar to squash seeds, in bulk at the store. Or you can wash the pulp from the seeds of a squash you are using in another recipe, dry them thoroughly, and proceed with the recipe.
Start with 2 cups of pepitas (or you can make less but I warn you, these are addictive)
Pour them into a hot cast iron skillet and stir until they start to pop. Pour them out onto a plate, paper plate, or several layers of paper towels. They will be hot! Sprinkle them with salt, let them cool down, and enjoy them as a snack. Or run them through a spice mill as a coating or topping.
Quick Pepitas with Tamari (These are unbelievably tasty and satisfying.)
Start with Quick Pepitas. After they start popping, turn off the heat but leave them in the pan. Immediately add 2-3 tablespoons of tamari soy sauce and toss them around in the pan to coat them all. Before the tamari dries and burns, remove them from the pan onto a plate. Let them cool and serve.
After cleaning the pepitas, toss them with a few tablespoons of olive oil and some salt, and roast them in a single layer on a cookie sheet for about 40 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Don't let them burn! Cool and eat.
Baked Pepitas variations.
Oil but don't salt the pepitas, but otherwise follow the recipe for Baked Pepitas. When the pepitas come out of the oven and are still hot, put them in a heat-safe bowl and sprinkle with ONE of these:
Cinnamon sugar (about 2 parts sugar to one part cinnamon)
Chili powder, with or without salt. Or chili powder with a bit of sugar. Or chili powder with a bit of sweetened cocoa mix.
Or serve the Baked Pepitas mixed about half-and-half with raisins.