It was a handful of years ago that we were introduced to the Kakai pumpkin seeds by Mac Condill at The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, IL. These seeds are smooth, nutty, and absolutely delicious.
It's a family tradition to visit The Great Pumpkin Patch each fall - sometimes more than once - and we typically bring home a haul of Kakai pumpkins. HOWEVER, this past year my parents, Ron and Lorri Kenny, purchase seeds from Homestead Seeds. This is the seed portion of The Great Pumpkin Patch. If you visit their website you'll see that they're not your ordinary Illinois "agritourism" destination. They actually propagate heirloom pumpkin and squash seeds to ensure they are grown (and enjoyed) by future generations (amongst so many other things!). I absolutely love this about their mission. This is how we (as in my parents) got into growing their own Kakai.
This past year my Dad planted a patch of Kakai on his work property (picture below). It was an amazing year for the Kakai pumpkins and my parent's harvested upwards of 60 Kakai and there are still some producing from the vine! Needless to say, they had a wonderful harvest of Kakai, which is great because their seeds don't last long in our family. Why? Because they are absolutely THE BEST pumpkin seeds on earth! The seeds are actually hulless, which means they are very soft and produce a smooth nutty flavor. Just. Delicious.
My family has been cutting and roasting pumpkin seeds (from all sorts of pumpkins) since I was a kid - and my children look forward to going to my parent's house each year to continue the tradition. When the Kakai was introduced to our family, the bar on roasted pumpkin seeds was raised to a whole new flavor level. If you see my Mom around, thank her for this recipe.
1 Kakai pumpkin
2 teaspoons melted butter
Seasoned salt to taste (for the seasoned salt we use Vege-sal)
Cut around the stem at the top of the Kakai pumpkin to expose a hole in the top of the pumpkin.
Remove all of the "guts" and seeds from inside the pumpkin.
Place all of the seeds in a strainer and rinse under cold water.
Scatter the seeds in a single layer across a paper towel and allow to dry (at least an hour).
Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
In a microwave safe dish, melt the butter. Then add the seasoned salt. Add the dried seeds and and toss until each seed is covered.
Spread the seeds across a baking sheet, in a single layer, and bake for 20 minutes. Then turn and bake another 20 minutes.
Keep an eye on the seeds so that they don't burn! Your oven may bake these faster than our oven so keep close to make and check about every 10 minutes.
Seeds will save in an air-tight container for a few days (if they're not eaten before then!).