Clean, dry seeds. (See below for tips on preparing seeds for roasting.)
Olive oil or your favorite vegetable oil.
Seasonings of your choice. Suggestions include:
• acorn squash (with olive oil and salt)
• butternut squash (with olive oil, fennel seed and salt)
• delicata squash (olive oil, coriander seeds, curry powder and salt)
• spaghetti squash (olive oil, red chili flakes, and salt)
• kabocha squash (allspice, cardamom, and cloves)
• Create your own favorite spice and herb mix such as pumpkin pie spices, Italian spice, taco seasoning!
Start with clean dry seeds. This is the most time consuming, but kids can help!
• Cut the squash in half from stem to bottom. (For a pumpkin that will be carved, cut a circle in the top!) Use your hands or a large spoon to pull out the seeds into a large bowl Try to squeeze the seeds out of this substance, leaving as much of the pulp behind as you can. There are pockets of seeds in the cavities of the pulp, so be sure to root around in the corners.
• Fill the bowl with cold water and use your hands to squish the seeds together to remove the slimy pulp. The seeds will rise to the surface. Skim them off and spread them out to dry.
• You can also put the seeds in a strainer and using your kitchen sprayer to loosen the pulp.
• Turn seeds out onto a clean absorbent dishcloth and pat them dry.
• If a little pulp sticks to the seeds, it will cook away during roasting.
Boil (optional): If the seeds are particularly tough, such as pumpkin and kabocha seeds, you can boil them in salted water for about 10 minutes. This can help soften the outer shells slightly and make them easier to roast.
Dry the seeds: Spread the cleaned seeds on a clean kitchen towel to dry. Allow them to air-dry for a few hours or use a towel to pat them dry.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Coat and Season: In a bowl, toss the dried seeds with a small amount of olive oil or vegetable oil. Use enough oil to coat the seeds lightly but not so much that they become greasy. Add your choice of seasonings and salt to the bowl. Toss the seeds to evenly coat them with the oil and seasonings.
Roast: Spread the seasoned seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Roast the seeds in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting. They will start to "pop’". Keep a close eye on them to prevent burning.
Test for doneness: The seeds are done when they turn golden brown and have a crispy texture. Taste a few seeds to make sure they are cooked to your desired level of crunchiness.
Cool: Once the seeds are roasted to your liking, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely on the baking sheet. They will become even crunchier as they cool.
Store: Once the seeds are completely cooled, transfer them to an airtight container. Properly stored, roasted squash seeds can stay crispy and flavorful for several weeks.
- Serve as a healthy snack, as an appetizer or as part of a cheese or “charcuterie” board.
- Add to a fall salad as you would use nuts or croutons.
- Garnish a fall soup with roasted seeds, especially if the soup contains squash.
- Add to granola or trail mix.
- Bake them into seedy crackers or breads.
Roasting seeds from winter squash is a good way to use as much of this "sister" as possible, reducing food waste. Sue Moran says “For some people, it’s a cherished fall ritual. Usually, it’s after the family jack-o-lantern gets hollowed out for carving and everybody gets all excited to roast the seeds… only to be super disappointed at how tough they can be! Turns out all the other winter squash have much better seeds for roasting.”
Sue reminds us, "Farmers markets and roadside stands are great sources for different varieties of winter squash ~ and all of them (and their seeds) are edible. Delicata, butternut, acorn, even spaghetti squash seeds can be roasted. These seeds are smaller, and more tender and flavorful than pumpkin seeds which are more fibrous."
As mentioned in last week’s story about “Three Sisters’ Soup”, most summer and winter squash are indigenous to the Americas. Squashes are one of the oldest known crops–10,000 years by some estimates of sites in Mexico. Squash was first used in its wild form. Since squashes are gourds, they most likely served as containers or utensils because of their hard shells. The seeds and flesh later became an important part of the pre-Columbian (before the arrival of Columbus!) Indian diet in both South and North America and has become one of the world’s most cultivated crops.
Knowing where our food comes from can help us to appreciate how the earth provides and our responsibility to use it with gratitude. As we read about how humans nurtured a variety of foods for our table, we are invited to reverence and use them well. It is my hope that awareness of the culture of Indigenous Peoples challenges white people to learn more about Native values, to risk relationship (encuentro) with Native Americans and to join their work of bringing justice, peace and unity between all members of the human and other than human family.
Moran of The View from Great Island relays: "For some people, roasting squash seeds is a cherished fall ritual. Usually it’s after the family jack-o-lantern gets hollowed out for carving and everybody gets excited to roast the seeds… only to be super disappointed at how tough they can be! Turns out all the other winter squash have much better seeds for toasting.
"Farmers' markets and roadside stands are great sources for different varieties of winter squash, as seen in the picture above by Sue Moran . She says, "and all of them (and their seeds) are edible. Delicata, butternut, acorn, even spaghetti squash seeds can be roasted…these seeds are smaller, and more tender and flavorful that pumpkin seeds which are more fibrous."