Have you fallen into the pumpkin craze yet?
Who am I kidding? Of course you have. This time of the year, pumpkin is everywhere. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin soup, etc.
Except I haven’t. Though I adore pumpkin, I haven’t had that much pumpkin this fall yet.
Perhaps I’m not crazy over it right now because everybody else is crazy for me. The obsession for pumpkin is on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. You can’t escape fall pumpkin madness.
Sure, I’ve bought a handful of squash/pumpkin this fall. A surprisingly underwhelming butternut pumpkin. Two slurpy spaghetti squash. A robust acorn pumpkin. But nothing over the top.
Compared to others, I haven’t stretched my creative culinary muscle with pumpkin much.
Introducing Sweetly Spiced Pumpkin Seed Butter
Or have I?
After enjoying my variety of pumpkins, I had a big bag of pumpkin seeds sitting in my fridge. I’m not one to waste edible food. I couldn’t bear to compost fresh pumpkin seeds.
I decided to make something out of them. But what? What could I make besides roasted pumpkin seeds?
Ah ha. I could make a seed spread.
I’ve made seed cheese in the past with pepitas and sunflower seeds. It was unexpectedly easy for my first try at making dairy free cheese. In fact, you can find the recipe for this particular seed spread in Single Serve Nutrition.
I wanted something new. Not an herby recipe. A sweet recipe that complimented the original taste of the pumpkin. A recipe that I could have for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
And a recipe that didn’t require me to pick all the orange pulp off of the seeds. I came up with Sweetly Spiced Pumpkin Seed Butter.
Sweetly Spiced Pumpkin Seed Butter
Though fresh pumpkin seeds are normally bitter, I wanted to make a pumpkin seed butter that was sweet. Pumpkins are inherently sweet after all. I wanted some of that to carry over into the butter.
So because I’m lazy innovative, I kept the orange pulp that comes with the seeds. From my experience, the pulp retains some of the flavor and sweetness of the pumpkin. Keeping the pulp would be a perfect way to add color, flavor and sweetness to the butter.
Cinnamon would have been a natural addition to this recipe. But I couldn’t allow myself to add it. I wanted to, but I didn’t. The flavor would have been great. Yet there was a significant downside: it deters bacteria growth.
You may be asking, “Um, Sara, isn’t that what you want?” Actually, no. It’s not. Along with being a pumpkin seed butter, I wanted a fermented pumpkin seed butter. And I know that cinnamon slows down bacterial growth.
So no cinnamon. Sorry.
I think I just broke the first rule of about fall recipes. Add cinnamon.
To get the sweet flavor I wanted I used two other warming spices: ginger and fenugreek.
I know what you’re thinking. Fenugreek is for curry. But trust me. Fenugreek and ginger are heaven together. Especially in sweet recipes. Have faith, try it and be amazed.
I added turmeric and black pepper to top off the spices. Black pepper enhances sweet flavors when used it moderation. The turmeric added a beautiful color. And black pepper and turmeric together are simply more nutritious.
I used kefir water to ferment the Sweetly Spiced Pumpkin Seed Butter. If you don’t have kefir water, feel free to use another living probiotic instead. You could use:
- Kombucha tea (or part of a SCOBY if you’re feeling adventurous)
- Raw sauerkraut water
- Dairy-free yogurt with live cultures
If you don’t have or want to buy any of those, you can go without. The pumpkin seeds will likely have living bacteria on them. Be aware, you’ll probably have to increase your fermentation time.
The last component is the sugar. I prefer not use refined sugar in recipes so I only added a teaspoon. Especially since this pumpkin seed butter is so fatty.
Why added sugar? I added sugar to encourage bacterial growth. I fed the bacteria in the kefir what I normally feed kefir grains.
You don’t need to use rapadura if you don’t have it. Most unrefined sugars will do. Other options include:
- Maple syrup
- Coconut sugar
A fall inspired treat
This recipe is high fat. And I promote a high-carb diet. So don’t go spreading this recipe on everything you eat.
Compared to other nut/butters, my Sweetly Spiced Pumpkin Seed Butter is healthy. No added salt or oil and a tiny amount of added sugar.
There’s nothing wrong with peanut butter, ice cream or pumpkin butter every now and then. Simply make sure every now and then is only a few times a week.
It’s pumpkin season! Don’t throw your pumpkin seeds away. Make Sweetly Spiced Pumpkin Seed Butter instead. Full of healthy fat, fiber and flavor.
Vegan, raw and free of added salt, oil, gluten, nuts and soy
Reasons to love this recipe: low cost, raw, probiotics, less than 10 ingredients
Yields around 2 cups
- 2-2 1/2 c fresh pumpkin/squash seeds with “pulp” (I used the seeds from 4 fruit total)
- 1/4 c kefir water
- 1 tsp rapadura (or other less-refined sugar)
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp fenugreek
- Dash of black pepper
- Dash of turmeric
Add seeds to the food processor. Blend until mostly smooth.
Add the other ingredients and blend together until you have a smooth, homogenous spread. Depending upon your processor, it could take 5 minutes or more.
Scoop the spread into a glass jar. Cover lightly with a cloth (I used a clean stocking) and ferment the mixture for 12 hours. This happened to be overnight for me.
Refrigerate and enjoy as desired.