Category Archives for Seed Saving

How to Separate Pumpkin Seeds from Strings

How to Separate Pumpkin Seeds from Strings

How to Separate Pumpkin Seeds from Strings

If Halloween is celebrated in your area, then chances are that you’ve tried roasted pumpkin seeds.

This is a favorite Halloween treat for many people.  My 2 girls and I love carving pumpkins and eating pumpkin seeds.  We love to roast the pumpkin seeds to eat as it makes for a great healthy snack.

You might be wondering if there is a good method on how to separate pumpkin seeds from strings.  

How do you deal with that mess of pumpkin seeds and pulp to get those seeds for a delicious snack? Well, that’s a thing that we’ve also wondered about long ago. But now, knowing the secret (not really), we want to share with you how to separate pumpkin seeds from strings!

2 Easy Ways to Separate Pumpkin Seeds from Strings

As a parent of 2 young girls, it is imperative that I offer at least 2 ways to do this.  The first is a tried and true method that your little ones can help you to do all by themselves while you finish gutting out the pumpkin.

You know, teamwork at its best.  The second method is if you want to take it up a notch.  It involves boiling water, so you will definitely need to help the little kiddos.

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Method #1 to Separate Pumpkin Seeds

The step-by-step process is as follows:

  • Pick a pumpkin, preferably a larger one from which you can harvest more seeds. If you are intending to make jack-o’-lanterns though, avoid overly big pumpkins that can collapse after being emptied.
  • Cut around the top of the plant and remove the top.
  • Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds along with the pulp into a bowl with water.
  • Manually separate the seeds from the pulp. Focus on larger chunks of pulp just yet – you will be able to remove the rest later. Put the cleaned seeds into a colander as you go.
  • Rinse the seeds in the colander under cool running water. Rub the seeds together to remove as much pulp as possible. You don’t really need to remove all of the pulp since it can improve the flavor of the dish.
  • Once you’re satisfied with the result, thoroughly drain the seeds.
  • Spread the seeds on a clean dish towel or a paper bag. Let the seeds air dry. You may use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process.

How to Separate Pumpkin Seeds from Strings

Method #2 to Separate Pumpkin Seeds

This method involves gently boiling them in salted water:

  • Scoop out of the guts from the inside of the pumpkin as in the 1st method.
  • Try and separate as much of the pulp as you can from the seeds but don’t worry too much if some of it remains on the seeds.
  • Start to boil some water in a pot big enough to hold your seeds.  You don’t want a rolling boil.  Just as the water begins to boil is enough
  • Add about 3 tablespoons of salt to the water as it boils and stir to help the salt dissolve
  • Add in the pumpkin seeds and pulp & stir the mixture until you start to notice that the stringiness is falling off

This method is actually a good way to get some plump pumpkin seeds for roasting.  You might think of it as a brining method that enhances the flavor and texture of ordinary pumpkin seeds.

Skip to step#5 if you want to roast your pumpkin seeds after you

Roasting pumpkin seeds

The ultimate goal of separating the seeds from the pulp is roasting the former, but how do you roast pumpkin seeds? Well, there are many recipes out there, but let us present one that we think you will like.

What you will need:

  • Around 3-1/2 cups of fresh pumpkin seeds.
  • 3-4 cups of water.
  • Half a cup plus 2 tablespoons of sea salt.
  • A bowl and a cookie sheet.

How to Separate Pumpkin Seeds from StringsRoasting Directions:

  1. Pour all of the water and half a cup of sea salt into a bowl.
  2. Warm up the water in a microwave. 2-3 minutes should suffice.
  3. Stir the water to dissolve the salt as much as possible. If some salt remains in the bowl, do not worry, it won’t have a major impact.
  4. Pour in the pumpkin seeds. Let the seeds soak for at least 3 hours.  
  5. Then, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. (Skip to this step if you did method#2 of separating pumpkin seeds from strings)
  6. Pour the pumpkin seeds into a colander. Let the seeds sit so that they get drained.
  7. Once the seeds have drained, spread them in a thin single layer over a cookie sheet.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sea salt over the seeds. Stir the seeds thoroughly.
  9. Put the cookie sheet in the oven. Depending on how many seeds you have or how large they are, bake them for 20-30 minutes.
  10. While baking, rotate the pan and flip the seeds with a spatula every 5 minutes.
  11. Bake until the seeds are dry. The shell of the seeds should retain its pale white color. Don’t allow them to brown.

This isn’t the only roasted pumpkin seed recipe in the world, but we think it’s good enough to get started. Then, feel free to add your own modifications or go for completely different recipes!

Green Thumb Gardener


Seed Saving Fundamentals | Establish a Legacy

Seed Saving Fundamentals | Establish a Legacy

Saving seeds is a skill that is as old as man cultivating the lands for survival.  The bible has many parables about seed saving and sowing all throughout it. You know that having your own supply packet of seeds is definitely a good practice of preparedness.  Are you really prepared enough though?

Acquiring your own supply of survival seeds in your storage is a start. It is vital & beneficial to learn the skills of saving seeds for your long term survival.  You will want to practice this skill each year in order to forge this as one of your tools for survival.

Learning this will guarantee that you know what to do if called upon.  You might even get some prize-winning tomatoes out of it.

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seed savingBasic of Seed Saving

Understanding the basics of these methods will help you to get a better grasp on the steps you need to do to save seeds.  First, you have to be able to discern the difference in the types of seeds that you want to acquire and ultimately grow.  You also want to know how to store them for long term survival.

Let’s start with some base knowledge of what you need to know and walk you through the steps to get started with this practice:

Open-Pollinated vs Hybrid Seeds

You might have heard a number of different terms when people talk about seeds.  This is an important topic that will help you distinguish what type of seeds you want to start in your collection.  Get this wrong and your next batch of plants will flounder and most certainly not be viable.

  • Open-pollinated – Plants that start from an open-pollinated variety and either self-pollinate or are pollinated by another plant of the same variety, will produce seeds identical to their parental plants.  Simply put, this is the type of seeds that you want to acquire.  These seeds are pure and untainted by science.
  • Heirloom – This term refers to seeds that have been passed down from generation to generation.  Typically, these are at least 50 years old varieties, so they have stood the test of time.   These types of seeds are all open-pollinated in nature, so they are safe to grow for seed saving.
  • Non-GMO – This refers to Non-Genetically Modified Organism.  Some seed advertisers have adopted this terminology, but it generally means the same as open-pollinated.  These are also pure seeds
  • Hybrid – These types of seeds must be avoided altogether if you want to save seeds.  Plants grown of this variety were cross-pollinated. Therefore, planting the offspring seeds will not produce the same as parental plants.  You may get plants that never flower or other unwanted qualities. Avoid them like the plague. The seed packets may have an F1 or possibly some other hybrid terminology in the names of it.

Vegetable Planting & Growing Techniques

seed savingWe won’t delve too deep into this topic, but certainly, check out our gardening site & resources for more information about growing vegetables.  It is still important to seize & adapt a few of these important concepts correctly in order to be successful in saving seeds.

  • Always plant multiple seeds of the varieties you start.  This is important due to the natural law of the “survival of the fittest”.  Make sure that you select the healthiest looking seedling of the bunch to plant in your garden.  This will be helpful in producing strong offspring.
  • Maintain an ideal growing environment throughout the lifespan of the plants is crucial.  Here is the trick – don’t be the overly protecting father. It is ok to allow for the plants to have some stress in the form of competing weeds, insect invasions, and other minor occurrences that plants have.
  • Try and keep other varieties separated from each other.  This topic can in itself be a whole separate discussion. The simple version is to at least keep any hybrid plants away from your open-pollinated plants.  An even better is to not grow any hybrid plants. You want to keep the plants as pure as possible.

Seed Saving Tips

The end of the growing season is always a busy time of the year.  This is where you collect the bounty of your harvest. Collecting the seeds that you store for the next year is of utmost importance.  

Many plants will have different ways & methods to collect seeds, so I employ you to do a bit more research on the particular type of plant you want to save seeds from.  Start with some vegetables & fruits that are easy to do like lettuce or watermelon.  

Here are some of the basic tips of seed saving:

  • Make sure that your plants have fully matured.  Knowing the maturation dates will help you to figure out when the plant seeds are ready to collect.  Begin to check the plants for signs of seeds forming. Some plants may change color or the fruiting part may bulge significantly.  Other plants will flower and you’ll start to see signs of decay.
  • Ensure that you collect seeds from your best-performing plants.  Remember, “survival of the fittest” is an important natural selection method.  It is best to avoid saving seeds from plants that did not fruit well unless it is a survival situation.
  • Seed Cleaning is the practice of drying your seeds and removing any plant matter from the seeds prior to storing them.  This is important for long term storage of your seeds

Check out our seed saving videos if you want to see some of these techniques in action here.

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seed saving

Seed Storage Fundamentals

You made it to the point where you have collected a number of seeds from your harvest.  Next, you want to ensure that they are stored away properly for the next growing season.  Make sure that you follow these guidelines to ensure your seeds germinate for you on your next sow.

  • Label each variety of seed that you collect.  Keep notes on how the variety performed and some information about the growing conditions.  You most likely won’t remember this next year and having these details written down will help.
  • Light, Heat, & moisture are the enemies of saving seeds.  It is best to put your seeds in some type of container that is shielded away from heat and light.  For years, we have stored our seeds in mini coin envelopes, tucked away in dark sealed plastic containers and placed in our basement.  We have had seeds germinate from 10 years ago using this simple method.
  • It is best to freeze seeds for longer periods of time.  You want to ensure that they have been sealed specifically in some type of mylar packaging.  Opening and closing these types of seed packets each year may damage the ones you don’t use. The fridge or basement is fine for the shorter storage seeds you plan to plant each season.

Hopefully, you learned that you need to add seed saving to your toolkit.  It is not a complicated skill to learn and if done right will also save you money at the market each year if you highly adopt this. 

Saving seeds is also preserving our past and ensuring the survival for generations to come.  Check out our post here on saving tomato seeds if you want to start with an easy vegetable seed to save.

Green Thumb Gardener

The Dirt on Saving Tomato Seeds | 3 Easy ways

The Dirt on Saving Tomato Seeds | 3 Easy ways

Take a poll of all your family and friends and ask what vegetable would they would grow.  You will probably hear growing tomatoes as one of the most popular vegetables growing choices.

It seems that most gardeners always brag about their tomatoes when asked about their progress of your their garden.Continue reading

Harvesting Sunflower Seeds | Saving Sunflower Seeds the Easy Way

Harvesting Sunflower Seeds – Saving Sunflower Seeds – We show you an easy way to harvest the sunflower seeds that you can plant or eat. Saving sunflower seeds is a great way to learn some seed saving techniques.  Best seeds saving envelopes can be found here

In this video, Jeremy Starke from Green Thumb Gardener shows you how to harvest sunflower seeds for saving. Saving sunflower seeds will allow you to replant sunflowers for next year or you can eat certain varieties.Continue reading