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Pepitas From Acorn or Butternut Squash

In my household, we love winter squash soups. We also love to eat squash stuffed with sausage and other veggies. Acorn squash is better for stuffing, while butternut is perfect for soups (because the skin is easier to remove).

After I cut my squashes in half, which is usually after steaming them to soften them a bit, I pull all the seeds and put them and whatever pulp comes with them into a jar or spare glass with water and salt. I don’t quite put a number on it by measuring, but it’s about a 1 to 2% salt solution.

The cup or jar with freshly removed seeds and pulp goes into the fridge for a few days. This loosens up the pulp and allows salt to soak into the seed kernels.

Once the seeds have had enough time to soak, I pull out all the pulp, dry them by leaving them out on a pan and/or putting them on a paper towel or kitchen towel.

The dried seeds are then put on an ungreased pan and into the toaster oven at about 350-degrees F for as many as 10 minutes with a pinch of additional salt and an unsealed foil cover, loosely placed. They’re done when the first one pops. (As with popcorn, one should try to be present to avoid scorching.)

[For the hearing impaired, I would suggest checking every couple of minutes. The pepitas are done when they’re golden brown or when you can see that a seed or two have exploded into pieces.]

The current batch was from butternut squash, and the seeds had almost a week to soak. After toasting them, they were far better than store-bought pepitas, but also half the size and the yield was only a palm-full of pepitas.

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