A frugal nibble: toasted squash seeds

This is a quick post, as Eoin is having a rare nap. It is also, appropriately enough, a very quick make: if you happen to be having a squash for your tea any time soon, why not try making this instead of just throwing the seeds away? I was driven to make this for the very same reason:

There are a lot of recipes for toasted pumpkin seeds out there, and they seem to be divided pretty much equally between those that suggest long, slow cooking, and those that require a short, hot roast. Contrarily, I decided to split the difference between both methods, but I find the result to be satisfyingly rustly, crunchy and more-ish. I don’t think I have ever bought a pumpkin, but I do get through a great deal of squashes of various types, and this has worked with the seeds of every squash I’ve tried. I based the spice mix on the contents of my cupboard (the smoked paprika can hardly be a surprise, given that I have demonstrated my obsession with it on several previous occasions), but I went out and hunted down the garlic salt specially: it seemed to be a staple of the recipes online, and a pinch of it does add a certain something.

A word of warning, though, if you are making these in a toddler-filled household: Eoin loves these, and would cheerfully mainline an entire bowlful if I let him. As they are not only salty, but also a potential choking hazard, though, I make sure to only let him eat a very few while supervised.

Toasted Squash Seeds

Toasted squash seedsYou will need:

  • The seeds from one or two squashes
  • A small knob of softened butter (you can use olive oil, but butter works better and tastes nice, in my experience)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Colman’s mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.

Rinse the squash seeds to remove any stray fibres of squash flesh: I tend to find this is easiest to do if you scoop all the seeds into a sieve, and swirl them around under some cool running water. Let them dry ( a little shoogle in the sieve works well), then mix your seasonings and butter in a large-ish bowl. You’ll end up with a paste which looks a bit like a marmitey sandwich spread. Add the squash seeds to the bowl, and mix them well so they are all coated in the mixture: this is why you needed to use a large-ish bowl, as you need plenty of room for stirring.

Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper or baking parchment, and spread the coated seeds out on this in as thin a layer as you can manage. They will tend to clump together a bit, but don’t worry: they’ll get easier to spread out as they bake.

Bake the squash seeds for about 15 minutes, stirring and re-spreading them on the baking sheet about every 5 minutes. At first everything will look very wet as the butter melts, but you’ll know when they are nearly ready as the coating will become drier and, well, more like an actual coating. You’ll know the seeds are ready when they rustle when you stir them rather than sticking together in a slightly apologetic manner. This is a bit hard to describe, but you’ll understand when you see it: trust me.

Serve warm, preferably with a glass of something on the side.


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