Cucurbita seeds - Part 4 of seed saving series.

Don’t you just fondly giggle and sing along when you hear the soundtrack of the kiddies’ program “Pumpkin Patch”? I sure do and I am humming it right now! Pumpkins are so much part of our growing up. One of the first solid foods babies are introduced to is Pumpkin…. and usually sweet pumpkin! Pumpkin is one of the most versatile vegetables around and there are just so many things to do with these orange wonders! These are technically fruits rather than vegetables. Whether you have them in a savoury roast, a soup or traditionally sweetened and mashed, it will remain an all-round favourite in most households. They are jam packed with goodness. One cup of cooked pumpkin offers at least three grams of fibre, zero cholesterol or fat and little calories. The golden orange colour is proof that it is rich in beta carotene and a one cup servicing will add to your daily dose of Vitamins A, C and E, Potassium, Calcium, Lutein, and Iron. Don’t neglect the absolute powerhouse value of the seeds!  They are nutty, add loads of flavour to salads and vegetable roasts. The seeds contain monosaturated fatty acids which aids in cardiovascular health.  They are high in calories, so do not overdo it though!

With a large variety, of pumpkin available, you can absolutely choose your own pumpkin fit! The Butternut is a type of winter squash that grows on a vine.  With a sweet and nutty taste like that of a pumpkin, it has become quite a favourite! It has tan-yellow skin with orange fleshy pulp and the compartment of seeds in the blossom end. Hubbard squash may not be the most common pick for many, but with its bright orange interior, sweet flavour, and fine texture, it's worth seeking out. Everyone knows the trusted Rolet Gem Squash, to name yet another of many.  The choices are endless!

It is interesting to note that the female pumpkin flower only opens for one day for pollination. The female flowers’ pollen reception last about four hours. If successfully pollinated during this short window, the fruit will swell and grow. The male and female flowers blooms early in the morning and these early morning blooms are decadently delicious when battered and fried!


  1. Remove the pulp and seeds inside the pumpkin.
  2. Using a colander, rinse the pulp and seeds under running water.
  3. There are so many seeds inside one pumpkin, so choose the biggest seeds for saving. Larger seeds have a higher germination chance. Do not discard the smaller seeds as these can be dried and stored for roasting!
  4. Once rinsed and separated from the pulp, spread the seeds onto a paper towel layer to absorb the water and moisture. Once all the water has been absorbed into the paper towel, replace the layer of paper towel, and leave to dry. Ensure that the seeds are well spaced. You don’t want them to stick to one another.
  5. Store the seeds in a cool dry place for approximately one week to completely dry.
  6. The dry seeds can be stored in a paper envelope in a cool and dry place. You can also store your seeds in the refrigerator. Use a container with aeration holes to ensure that no condensation build up inside.


There are so many pumpkin seed roasting methods and recipes available which will allow you to pick and choose the best method suited to you.  Some would suggest boiling your seeds prior to roasting and others not.

I prefer to fry my pumpkin seeds as and when I make a pumpkin dish.

  1. Follow the same steps as you would for cleaning the seeds.
  2. Dry the seeds by placing them between two paper towel layers to absorb most of the moisture. Removing the damp layers, place them on a dry paper towel in an aerated area. I find the windowsill where there is a slight draft, helpful.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to approximately 50 to 70 degrees Celsius. Using a baking tray, space the seeds on a double paper towel layer and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. It just needs to dry out and not necessarily roast.
  4. Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool down completely.
  5. Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat and add your seeds. You can add a teaspoon of your choice of oil or your can dry fry these.
  6. Use only salt, grinded black pepper, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper to taste. Voila! Add your own nutty crunch to your dish.



  1. Pumpkin Pie
  2. Pumpkin Soup
  3. Pumpkin Salad
  4. Pumpkin-Variety Roast
  5. Pumpkin Fritters
  6. Pumpkin Pudding.

The list goes on and on. The above is absolute proof that cooking pumpkin is healthy, versatile and fun.

About the Author

Michele Fourie is the Seeds for Africa General Manager. Michele loves growing beautiful flowers, chilli plants and is passionate about exceptional customer. service. Michele is also a fundi in the kitchen. Check out her blog post on making your own sweet pickled piquant cherry peppers at this link.