1.20.2010

How to Toast Squash or Pumpkin Seeds - Recipe

Sometimes I hear pumpkin seeds called "pepitas" the Spanish word which sounds much more glamorous than squash seeds. While we were in Panama I learned the phrase "ella esta cargando una pepita". She's carrying a pumpkin seed, which is an indirect way to say she's pregnant. I, of course, learned this because all of our neighbors were convinced I had a bun in the oven. "What? You're married and you don't have kids? Surely you are working on making a pepita?" Anyway, now when I see bags of pepitas on the shelf at the grocery store, I imagine a bag of potential babies. Kind of weird, I know.

One of my goals for making my life and kitchen use fewer resources is to use what I do have more efficiently.  I love winter squash.  I buy a butternut, pumpkin or kombocha squash almost every time I go to the grocery store.  The flavor and texture are sweet and velvety and they are so good for you.

In Panama I would save the squash seeds and dry them - as much as it was possible to dry seeds in 95% humidity - and package them for the Seeders, Peace Corp's Panama's seed exchange program.  Back home in the Midwest I have been composting the seeds.  Then I realized what I should have been doing was toasting the seeds!  The only problem is, I only get maybe a cup of seeds out of any squash.  It seems like a waste of time and energy to bother toasting them. 

Then I remembered I have a refrigerator.  I have discovered I can clean the squash seeds and hold them in the refrigerator until I have enough to toast.  I put the cleaned seeds in a single level on a cookie sheet.  Toss them with a little oil and salt for a snacking seed or leave them plain for use in baking or granola.  Here is a mixture of the big kombocha squash seeds and the smaller butternut squash seeds. 
Toast the seeds at 200-250 degrees for about two hours.  Every half hour or so stir the seeds around to help them dry evenly.  Let the seeds cool and you are ready to eat or store them. The smaller seeds need less time to dry than the big ones.  I had no trouble toasting them together.

Jeff and I both like the taste of the butternut squash seeds better than the kombocha. The butternut seeds are very similar to sunflower seeds in flavor. The kombocha have more shell and less of the nutty meat. 
I was planning to mix these seeds into a scone or maybe a salad, but while I've been working on this post I've also been snacking on them.  There's not that many left.  Guess I'll just have to finish them! 

14 comments:

  1. I CAN'T wait for pumpkins!! Seeds are super delicious and healthy, too!

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  2. I just cooked a butternut squash. I should have saved the seeds. Next time I will. I tossed them because, like you said, you don't have enough to toast with just one squash. Your idea about mixing them and storing them until you have enough to toast is a great idea.

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  3. I love toasted pumpkin seeds. It it one of my favorite snacks during fall season. Thanks for sharing this!

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  4. I love toasted pumpkin seeds! Once I read your advice I realized that it makes perfect sense to save all squash seeds and taste the variety. In California they referred to them as pepitas too. I have a post on roasting pumpkin seeds tossed with salt and and different spices. So easy. So good. So addicting. :-)

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  5. I toasted butternut squash seeds in a dry frying pan and they weren't great - kinda chewy. I am going to try your roasted method.

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  6. Mmmm I haven't had freshly roasted pumpkin or squash seeds in awhile. I normally buy my squash or pumpkin already cut up, ready to cook. Or pureed. So much easier. A bit more expensive because all the work is done for you but easier to cook. These look so good.

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  7. "I have discovered I can clean the squash seeds and hold them in the refrigerator until I have enough to toast"

    Esto es un descubrimiento para mi tambien.

    Muy util este post
    un saludo

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  8. Way to be resourceful! My mom used to roast pumpkin seeds after we had our little carving activity. What a simple and tasty treat!

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  9. oh no, i just made a butternut squash curry and threw away the seeds! thanks for sharing.

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  10. Toasting pumpkin seeds was something that I did with my kids every Halloween after we had carved the pumpkins! Brings back many memories. I'll have to toast them this year. My husband and I make stew in a pumpkin and serve it from the pumpkin.

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  11. The pepitas look delish. Can't wait until its pumpkin carving time!

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  12. I love squash seeds too. I actually just read something that said to use the stringy insides of the pumpkin as a facial application. Process it for a couple of minutes until very smooth and apply. May as well use the whole thing, huh?

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  13. I notice you roast your seeds in a lower oven. I have always done it in a higher oven, so maybe that's why they seem too dried out. Will try your way later. Nr=ever knew you could hold the seeds in the fridge to collect more. Think I will try that. ?rhnx for the good info

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  14. Thanks for the clear directions & the suggestion to store the pepitas until you have enough. Cheers, K.

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