Crunchy Squash Seeds - Whole Squash Cookery Part: One
Our farmers work so hard to grow all of the beautiful vegetables that we get from them. We are always looking for more ways to honor all their care and effort by using as much of every vegetable as we possible can. As we transition from Summer Squash to Winter Squash we are also going from a veggie that is perfect for quick sautéing to one that is best roasted, while the roasting takes longer it is also way more hands off so there is built in time for other projects. That's where these crunchy and addictive roasted squash seeds come in. Since we always prefer less dishes, this is also a great way to reuse the pan you roasted your squash in before you clean it, ensuring that you get a bonus snack for the next day out of your dinner.
Squash Seeds in their pulp
Hot Honey (Or Controne Pepper + Wild Heather Honey)
First step with squash seeds is cleaning and drying, I've found the best tool for this is a colander. To start: place your squash seeds along with their pulp in a bowl. Place your colander in the sink, then using your fingers dig through the pulp to separate the seeds, you aren't looking to get them all the way clean, just quickly grab a bit of pulp and seeds and with your other hand dig the seeds out of the pulp. Once you have separated the majority of the pulp from the seeds and they are in your colander, toss the remaining pulp into your compost bin (unless you are using it for a Halloween themed natural dye project). Rinse the bowl and then fill with enough water that when the colander is placed in the bowl it lift up the seeds but doesn't go over the top of the colander. This contained seed bath will allow you to stir and kind of shake the seeds loose from the remaining pulp without having to keep the sink faucet running. Once the seeds and pulp are mostly separated, pull the colander from the bowl, dump the water out and give the seeds a rinse under the since, moving them around with your hand, this should free them of any remaining pulp (we aren't trying to be perfect here). Let them drain and then lay out in a single layer on some paper towel (top and bottom), give them a few minutes to dry then remove them from the paper towel into a bowl.(Don't leave on the paper towel for too long otherwise they will start to stick and your seeds will have little bits of paper attached to them, we want them as dry as possible but paper free)
Roasting your seeds:
As I said before, we want to use the sheet pan from your roasted squash to roast these in. Once you pull out your squash, turn the oven up to 500, then remove the squash from the pan and scrape any burnt bits away with a spatula. Next, add some fresh EVOO to the pan, 2 table spoons should do, then 1 table spoon of hot honey for every 2 tables spoons of oil you've added. Use your spatula to mix the oil and honey, then add your seeds to the pan, again using your spatula to make sure they are all well coated and in a single layer on the sheet pan. Season over top with Salt + Pepper, if you don't have Hot Honey, this is when you should add the Controne Pepper (you can add other seasonings as well at this point). Place in the oven and cook for 6 minutes. After 6 minutes remove from the oven and flip your seeds with the spatula, they should have a little color at this point, once you've flipped them as thoroughly as possible place back in the oven for another 5-7 min. They should be a nice golden color in the middle of the seed, if they aren't, flip with your spatula again and throw back in the oven for 4 minutes. Once you have a nice color on the outside, remove from the oven and scoop onto a drying rack with your spatula, dust them with a little more salt and pepper and let them cool. Snack immediately or save in the fridge for adding a crunchy touch of sweet heat to your next salad or roast veggie dish. Enjoy!
PS - If you like to prep your veggies ahead of time, cooking these the day before you plan to cook your squash makes for a fantastic addition to any roast squash dish, the duality of creamy/crunchy texture is fantastic!