Seeds Not for the Birds
It involves some elbow grease to crack open a winter squash (acorn, spaghetti, butternut, kabocha, hubbard, the list goes on) or pumpkin. After you've skinned and cubed up the squash, save some effort for the seeds. A good source of protein, fiber, calcium, iron, and a whole bucket of other vitamins and minerals. The seeds double the value of your gourd. If the seeds are plump or have a thickness, they can be roasted. Skinny thin seeds have less meat and are chewy and fiberous rather then crunchy when roasted. The average pumkin or winter squash has anywhere between 1/4 to 1 cup of seeds, or 100 to 700 seeds. Their sizes vary based on variety and the ripeness of the harvested gourd.
Toasted Squash Seeds
the seeds of one squash (1/4 - 1 cup)
1 tblsp vegetable oil
1/8 tsp salt, or more to taste
1/2 tsp chili powder
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Scoop seeds out of halved squash or pumpkin with a spoon and place in a a collander. The seeds will be entangled with squash membrane. Use your fingers to pick the stringy, slippery membrane out. Rinse with water, and shake off excess. Spread the seeds on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil, chili powder, and salt. Toast in oven for 45 - 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes. The seeds will have a light to medium brown color. They won't crisp up until they are removed from the oven. To test remove one seed from the oven, wait five minutes. If it crunches when you bite it, the seeds are ready, otherwise back in the oven for 15 minutes.
Roasted and toasted the versatile seeds garnish everything from salads, stews, soups, rice, to roasts. The seeds can also be ground up and added to mole sauce, or a twist on pesto. Think of the roasted seeds as a stand in for nuts. Seeds loose their crunchy impact in moist batters, but as a salty topping on a rich chocolate chip cookie, mousse, muffin, or bread they score big points. I eat mine with the skin on, but some people prefer to shell them with their teeth to get to the meat part. Easier with larger seeds.