Toasted Squash Seeds
Saving Money in Your Kitchen
Everyone is familiar with pumpkin seeds. Toasted and seasoned, they are a popular snack often sold in supermarkets and health food stores. There is a reason you find them in the latter: they are nutritious little tidbits, packets of protein, Vitamin K, iron and copper, low in cholesterol, rich with manganese, phosphorous and magnesium.
Not everyone knows that the pumpkin is a winter squash, which is to say a hard squash as opposed to the soft summer varieties, and that winter squash seeds are all much the same. It is a good thing to know about, though.
Whenever you have a nice winter squash to bake for supper, or to make into soup, or to mash with butter and honey as a side dish, the first thing you usually do is cut it in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and throw them away. Do not do that. Well, the first two are fine, but don't do that last bit.
Instead, put those seeds into a bowl of water and free them of the bits of squash and the tubules to which they cling. You will not find it hard to do. Just keep rubbing them between your fingers and picking out the fleshy pieces until you have more or less clean seeds remaining. You don't have to be a perfectionist about it, a little squash left on them won't hurt a thing.
RInse them. Drain them. Dry them if you like, but don't worry too much about that detail, either.
When you're ready, stir a little cooking oil into them, just enough to coat those delectable little pods lightly, and season them. You can do that as you wish, heavily or lightly, saltily or not, with or without pepper or herbs or spices. Try things until you find what you think tastes best.
All you have to do after that is toast them. As the photograph shows, you can do that on the stove if you have only a handful of seeds. That picture shows those from one acorn squash (I made soup for my supper from it). If you have more, you can spread them on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven set to standard temperature (it takes about half an hour, but watch them so they don't burn). I usually just stir them in a pan until they turn a golden brown and I hear some popping as they puff up a little.
Pour them out onto a plate to let them cool, and you're done. Eat those healthy little bundles of joy like peanuts or popcorn, and feel as smug and virtuous as you like about having saved something good that most people throw out of their kitchens. You'll have earned the feeling.
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