The key to perfect toasted squash seeds…

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It is common knowledge that squash seeds are yummy when they are seasoned and toasted, whether you make them sweet, spicy, salty, or fairly plain. The seeds are of course a great source of omega 6 fatty acids, as well as a good source of zinc, magnesium, and complex carbohydrates.

For years, I have been making decent toasted squash seeds in a variety of flavors. My mind has often wondered why they are a bit on the fibrous side as I am chewing them.

Then the lazy cook in me discovered the secret!   I ignored the bowl of pumpkin seeds (leftover from our jack-o-lanterns) on the counter for a day before I tosted them and learned that the seeds benefit greatly from 24 hours of fermentation in their own pulp. Duh!

Fermentation is the ancient way to process foods, and includes a variety of good-for-you foods like breads, yogurt, sour cream, wine, really good salads, etc. Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables are chock full of active enzymes that if allowed to work on the food for a bit often improve texture, flavor, and shelf life.

In the instance of squash seeds, fermentation improves the texture by making the seeds less fibrous and lighter in texture. Here’s the how to:

  1. Scoop the seeds and pulp from the squash. Hold the seeds in a non-reactive dish.
  2. Mix enough water into the pulp to cover the seeds and pulp
  3. Squeeze the pulp through your fingers to loosen the seeds
  4. Let it sit out on the counter for about 24 hours.
  5. Drop the whole mess into a large-holed colander.
  6. Run water over the pulp while you squeeze the seeds free. Fish out the chunks of pulp and discard.
  7. When you are left with just seeds (and maybe a touch of sqaush) lay out the seeds on a baking sheet lined with foil, parchment, or silicone.
  8. Season to taste, I really like creole seasoning, and bake at 300 degrees for about an hour, or until the seeds are dried out and crisp.
  9. Crunch away. They won’t last long!

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