Last fall was the first time we’d heard about Kakai pumpkins, a unique variety desirable for its hulless seeds. It’s of Austrian origin, grown solely for its seeds, and is especially known for the valuable green pumpkin seed oil it produces. We picked this one up from Two Toad Farm last December, and it has resided on the mantle in the months since.
It was mid-March by the time I got around to opening the Kakai up. Its storage place above the wood-burning stove was less than ideal, but it kept its integrity, with no signs of rot. I scooped out the seeds, separated them from the flesh, and gave them a quick rinse. They were spread out on a kitchen towel, and then left to dry. I dry roasted them at 175° for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice.
If available at the farmers’ market, select the larger ones, with an eye to the amount of seeds it might contain rather than flesh. They’ll feel light for their size, and should average in the five to eight pound range. At less than five pounds, this specimen was on the small side, and yielded less than a cup of seeds. The seeds are equally delicious raw or roasted, and can be used in any place you would something nutty or want a bit of crunch, say as a garnish for soup or salad, or in a pesto. I especially like the possibility of using these to make your own pumpkin seed oil.