Thanksgiving is right around the corner now, isn’t it? We picked up all sorts of delicious and traditional thanksgiving fruits and vegetables from our veggie co-op, including fresh cranberries, sweet potatoes, a small mountain of pearl onions and enough squash to last us through the New Year. My kids were so excited to try the fresh cranberries; they talked about it all the way home. I warned them that fresh cranberries didn’t taste like the cranberry sauce we have at Thanksgiving, but they wanted to try it anyway. The expressions on their faces were priceless. I wish I had gotten a picture!
Anyway, we got a good deal of squash, and that’s fine with me, because I’m a huge fan of winter squash. I never ate them growing up – not even pumpkin pie! But I acquired a taste for their slightly sweet and incredibly filling flavor as an adult and I have had a lot of fun over the years searching out, growing and sampling different varieties. Delicata is one of my favorites with its very light flavor; another one I really like is Kabocha… and the classics like Acorn, Spaghetti, and Butternut are staples around here since they’re so easy to find. I think one day I’d love to have a corner of the yard filled with all different types of squashes. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
If you’re like me, and planning on using winter squash for holidays this year – or making it anytime, really, don’t throw away your seeds! Roasted pumpkin seeds seem to be a staple around Halloween, but roasted squash seeds are – in my opinion – even tastier. I think a lot of people just toss them aside without even realizing that they’re not only edible, but delicious. My kids will eat an entire bowl of roasted squash seeds, and it’s a great (free) snack since the rest of the squash is being used up otherwise.
Roasted Squash Seeds
vegetarian * makes 2 cups
2 cups seeds from winter squash – any kind
1 T melted butter
Salt, to taste
Separate seeds from winter squash, but do not rinse them. Remove any large pieces of squash sticking to the seeds, but don’t worry about the smaller pieces of pulp. They add to the flavor of the roasted seeds. (Here’s an idea of how mine looks before cooking):
Line a baking dish with foil to make cleanup easy and place seeds in. Pour the melted butter on top and mix well. Sprinkle liberally with salt. Place inside an oven heated to 300* and let cook for an hour to an hour and a half, stirring every twenty minutes or so, and moving the seeds in the middle to the edges so as to cook evenly. Baking times can vary quite a bit depending on how pulpy your seeds are. More moisture on the seeds means a longer cooking time. Just keep your eye on them. Seeds will be done when they are all brown and crispy (but not burnt). We love salt here, so I usually sprinkle the finished seeds with a little more salt, but do at your own preference.
You can make these even more flavorful by adding seasonings prior to baking, too. Garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce – just a dash each – are my favorites, but my kids won’t eat them that way, so we stick with the basic recipe.
These are a great addition to your appetizer table as well as a nutritious snack too. Pumpkin seeds are high in Vitamin E, full of healthy amino acids and are a good protein source. Plus, any kind of healthy snack that my kids willingly eat is a keeper in my book! So, there it is – a great way to make a super snack while saving food scraps.
I wanted to snap a few photos of the roasted squash seeds once they were warm enough to share, but two very patient little boys (who had been counting down the minutes) came over and started snacking away before I got a chance. They munched away, brightly talking about their day and making play plans for the rest of the afternoon to come. After a second helping, and happy to have had their fill, they left just enough for me to have a good-sized serving tonight after they go to sleep… maybe with a big glass of tomato juice. Or maybe I should make that a Bloody Mary? Either way, at least there will be something healthy for me to munch on!
~ Mellie ★