Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What the heck do I do with...the seeds from my winter squash???

We are right in the heart of winter squash season....butternut, buttercup, acorn, spaghetti, Kabocha, delicata, hubbard....and the list goes on....I love them all.
But I think I like the seeds the best. They are like a little, extra added bonus so please don't throw them out; most people think only pumpkin seeds are for roasting, but the winter squash seeds are great for roasting as well.

Roasting the seeds is so easy, here's how you do it...
Here are some seeds from an acorn squash. They were removed from the squash and put into a strainer to wash.
These seeds happen to be particularly clean. Sometimes seeds come out with lots of gunk from the inside of the squash on them, and you just need to try your best to get it off. It works best to rub the seeds, under the running water, between your fingers and they will come clean.

After the seeds are washed, let them dry out a bit by spreading them out on a paper towel, then transfer to a baking sheet, lined with parchment or tin foil. Now it's time to flavor up the seeds and here is where you can get creative. Go basic, and drizzle the seeds with some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and crushed pepper. Go for some spice and add in some chile powder and red pepper flakes. Go for warm spices with some cinnamon and cumin. Go for earthy and add some fresh chopped rosemary. Whatever your flavors are, make sure they are well distributed over the seeds by tossing the seeds in the oil and spices.
Bake the seeds at 325 or 350 for 15-20 minutes. After about 10 minutes, give the seeds a stir. The seeds will start to let you know when they are done because they will start to pop open and you'll hear them. Test them at this time by trying one or 2 seeds. They should be nicely browned, crunchy and toasty. If they need more time, let them go another couple minutes and try again.
Pull them, let them cool and enjoy!
That's it.
The seeds, as most seeds are, are packed with nutrients. Some stats on butternut squash seeds are as follows: one cup of roasted butternut squash seeds with olive oil and salt has 216 calories, 8.5 g protein, 19.2 g fat, no cholesterol, 297 mg sodium and 6.1 g carbs, 1.3 g of which is fiber.
They are rich in calcium and zinc and one cup is reported as having nine minerals, 13 vitamins, 18 amino acids and three fats.

So when you roast your next winter squash, save those seeds and roast them up. They make a great, healthy snack.