Though pop culture might say otherwise, pumpkins are far more than Halloween decor. Beyond their spooky appeal and carvable walls lie vast culinary opportunities (see: pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread). However, even some of the best pumpkin recipes tend to exclude an overlooked portion of the big orange squash -- its seeds. Pumpkin seeds are tasty and nutrient-dense pips with surprisingly versatile applications. If you're on the fence about eating them, an easy way to jazz up pumpkin seeds is by brining them in beer.
Brining is a cooking technique used to enhance the flavor of meats, veggies, and in this case, pumpkin seeds. A simple brine typically calls for water, sugar, salt, and seasonings for added flavor. Although it might not be your everyday cooking endeavor, soaking pumpkin seeds in a beer-tinted brine before roasting them for enjoyment is an easy way to imbue them with flavors unique to boozy brews. From bitter ales to full-bodied stouts and funky sours, there are many different flavors you can use to amplify and add dimension to your go-to brine's seasonings and herbs.
Read more: 10 Of The Healthiest Beers You Can Drink
Tips For Brining Pumpkin Seeds In Beer
Brining might sound like a job for the professionals, but it doesn't have to be intimidating. With a few tips and tricks up your sleeve, you'll be a master at beer brining pumpkin seeds faster than you can say Shiner Bock.
Let's start with preparing the brine -- a simple combination of water, sugar, salt, and beer works great, but feel free to introduce additional spices and herbs per your preferences. Once combined, boiling the brine helps dissolve the granulated sugar and salt. From there, all you have to do is refrigerate and soak the pumpkin seeds overnight in your beer brine to infuse them with vibrant bursts of flavor.
Although you technically can eat them right out of the solution, they wouldn't be very appealing. Roasting them in the air fryer or oven promotes a crispy texture and toasty, nutty flavor. A drizzle of oil before they roast can help achieve a delicate, caramelized char on their surface that complements the brine's earthy beer flavor. Don't forget to top them with a generous amount of your favorite seasonings for an extra burst of flavor on their exterior.
Beer Varieties You Can Use For Brined Pumpkin Seeds
Lucky for beer aficionados, beer isn't a solitary ingredient. The beer world is a sweeping landscape of diverse flavors designed to match the interests and tastes of adventurous and traditional drinkers alike. Similarly, the beer you select for your brine determines the final taste of your roasted pumpkin seeds.
For ultra-hoppy, slightly bitter flavors with floral undertones, opt for an IPA. To infuse the seeds with chocolatey notes underpinned by creamy, toasty coffee aromas, a porter or a stout is your best bet. For a classic beer flavor with a refreshing, crispy lightness, a good, old-fashioned lager is an excellent choice. If you're feeling adventurous, sour beers or wheat beers can inspire your pumpkin seeds with funky notes. You can find all of these beer varieties in their most basic form or shaded with unique flavors ranging from lemony brightness to cheeky cherries and zesty pickles (yes, pickle beer is a thing).
Uses For Beer-Brined Pumpkin Seeds
Now that you're ready to roast a few fistfuls of beer-brined pumpkin seeds, you'll need to put them to good use. But, if pumpkin seeds aren't in your regular rotation of snacks and miniature-sized ingredients, you might be surprised at just how many ways you can use them in your cooking.
The earthy and hoppy flavors of the beer-brined pumpkin seeds can enhance salads by balancing the freshness of greens and vegetables and offering a decadent crunch to complement tender veggies and silky salad dressing -- a perfect crouton alternative! Trail mix mavens rejoice because when combined with nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate chips, beer-brined pumpkin seeds contribute a savory element with complex flavors to your trail-ready medley. Used as a garnish, beer-brined pumpkin seeds provide texture and depth to soups and stews, imbuing their hearty qualities with nutty undertones. If all else fails, these toasty little seeds make for a great, crunchy snack all on their own.
Remember, cooking is all about exploring and making an adventure out of flavor pairings. Be as bold as these beer-brined pumpkin seeds with your applications for them. Trust us -- you won't regret it.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.