I have a recipe I want to use that calls for "hulled pumpkin seeds (the green ones)". I have pumpkin seeds saved from carving pumpkins. Do I just... peel them? Any fast way to do this? Is there any other preperation needed?
Describing the only method I know, and hoping that somebody will come up with an improvement, because this one is quite time-consuming.
First, clean your pumpkin seeds and toast them. They cling to the hull when they are raw. When toasting, it is preferable to use lowish temperature for a long time, so you can prevent strong taste changes and burning. If I remember correctly, it is also a good idea to let them cool them first, because they are more likely to break when hot, but
When the seeds are ready, you want to pop them out of the shell. For this, hold a seed between your thumb and index finger. Apply pressure to the most prominent parts of the edge.
Ideally, the pointed part of the hull will split along the edge, and the seed will fall out, or you will be able to squeeze it out. Even if it goes like that seed after, it is a slow, monotonous work. Often, the hull will refuse to split, or the seed will break within the hull, or it will cling to the hull and refuse to come out after it has split. And then there is no guarantee that you'll get the beautiful plump seeds you see in the supermarket, because carving pumpkins aren't bred for nice seeds, it can happen that yours are very small and thin and not a particularly good decoration.
Conclusion: it is possible, but even if I had the seeds sitting around, I'd throw them out (or feed them to birds outside) and get hulled seeds for cooking, instead of spending half a day to get a handful of seeds out of their hulls. If it doesn't bother you, or if you can find a more efficient method, feel free to do it and share your process improvements here.
I found a method here: http://www.heritagefarms.com/recipies/recipie_pages/roasted_pumpkin_seeds.php
To hull seeds in quantity, first break them up with a rolling pin, hammer or food chopper, then drop the seeds into a large container filled with water. Stir vigorously to bring all the kernels in contact with the water and to break the surface tension. Kernels will sink to the bottom; the shells will remain floating
Anyone ever try this? I might experiment tonight..
I tried it. They cracked, but not enough to let out the seeds. I suspect I'd have to have less flat seeds for it to work. Oh well.
I spent a couple of hours in front of the television splitting dried pumpkin seeds with an exacto knife. Make sure you don't point the business end at yourself or the fingers that are holding the seed. Ended up with about a cup full of seeds. If you have the time that seemed to work the best for getting whole raw seeds which are better for you. I decided that buying raw pepitos (which I've found seems to be what they are usually labeled as) is worth the expense, so unless I end up with hulless seeds, or can find some sort of mechanical huller that doesn't cost $2000 or more, that's the way I will continue to get my hulled seeds.
When I was a kid we grew pumpkins for the pigs to eat during the winter. Most of the seeds were dried and sold, but we also ate some.
This is how we shelled them:
- Clean and dry the seeds. (No need to wash, just separate seeds from pulp by hand).
- Hold the seed between fingers similar to a guitar pick (plectrum).
- Insert the seed between your front teeth and squeeze until it cracks. Start at the narrow point and squeeze your teeth 2-3 times moving towards the middle of the seed. By the time you reach the middle the flesh will be almost out of the shell, at that point you decide if you like to ate it or save it for a dish.
- If you hull lots of seeds that way, your tongue might get a little sore from guiding the seed, so take it easy at first.
My grandma showed me this and it works very well.
Centrifugal dehullers are used commercially; something like this. Basically, you use a spinning rotor to throw seeds at a hard wall at about 100 mph (45 m/s). This cracks the shell, and releases the seed. All that reamains then is to separate seed from broken hulls. The same process may be used effectively for oats, rice, sunflower, pumpkin and etc. seeds. Rotor speeds run from 1200 to 5000+ rpm for smaller units. There are currently no consumer grade units on the market; but it's not impossible to build such a unit at home.
Wikihow suggests using a rolling pin to crack the (cleaned, dry) seeds, then boiling for 30 minutes so the pepitas are released from the hulls.
Skim the empty hulls out of the water, then drain the water off of the pepitas and pat dry. Now you can eat the pepitas as is, or roast and flavor them.