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Roasted Winter Squash Seeds... Waste-not, want-not

I must have been a war child in a previous life because it absolutely kills me to waste food. Previous generations bragded that they ate every inch of every animal from the skin to the fat to the bone marrow (Eee). I'm not quite that bad, but I have been known to ravage a vegetable beyond recognition.

Take for example, winter squash.  There are zillions of recipes for cooking the actual squash, but don't throw away those precious seeds! Roast them! And the skin of the kabocha? Microwave it for a crunchy 'chip.'

Here was an example of some butternut squash I felt like making into "fries." Please be aware that they will never taste like real, fried fries. Don't believe Hungry Girl when she says otherwise. But they are a fun alternative to eating them mashed. And they are a great vehicle to get ranch dressing ('light' if you like) or ketchup into your mouth.
 
Butternut squash

SAVE THOSE SEEDS! Rinse & roast them.

Oil: only needed to prevent sticking (or for flavor).

Roasted Butternut "Fries"

Roasted Butternut squash seeds



To oven-roast winter squash seeds (all of them work: Spaghetti, Acorn, Kabocha, Butternut etc):
  • Preheat oven to 350F and spray some aluminum foil with oil for easy release (can use a pie or baking dish as well)
  • Remove seeds and rinse off strings (although I like the strings as they get crunchy)
  • Sprinkle with salt if desired
  • Spray with oil if desired: note that this is not necessary (they have a natural starchy coating that is delicious and roasts to crisp perfection!)
  • Roast for 15-30+ minutes depending on desired crunch (check them every few minutes after about 15'...once they burn, they are good for nothing but the trash bin).
To Microwave squash seeds:
  • Rinse seeds and place on sprayed microwave plate
  • Salt if desired
  • Spray oil if desired
  • Nuke on high for 1 minute.
  • Stop and mix the seeds around the plate and set for another 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Continue this process until they are as dark and crunchy as you'd like (mine usually take about 5 minutes or enough time to clean the kitchen after a meal prep).

To Microwave kabocha skin 'chips':
  • Wash and cook kabocha (organic, if you are concerned about eating the skin that could contain pesticides) and reserve the 'flesh' for another use.
  • Microwave skin on high for 1 minute at a time (no plate, oil, salt needed)
  • Remove it and check for desired done-ness.
  • Repeat at 30 second increments until crispy and brown but not burned
  • Dip in ranch or ketchup or tahini etc
Remember you can use any cooked winter squash as a substitute for pureed pumpkin in your favorite protein muffins! This is what I use when I'm away from home and can't find canned pumpkin.

Q: Do you find it hard to toss food/leftovers?  Do you have any tips for how to reduce food waste? Have you tried to make chips out of any other type of winter squash skin? What other obscure seeds are great roasted?

20 comments:

the actor's diet said...

i can't waste. i even save salsas and dressings from takeout and use them in new meals

Eden said...

Oh, you know me, I have a hard time parting with food too.

But you are the one that got me hooked on the seeds! And I live squash skins of course. I think I like all skins. Bagel skins, apple skins, potato skins (and inards!) just not foreskins! ewww that would be nasty and unkosher!

Eden said...

PS, your commenting system is retarded (sorry Ameena). I keep posting and it doesn't show up unitl like five clicks!

Deb (Smoothie Girl Eats Too) said...

Lynn- good thing I'm not the only one. I have a whole tupperware bin in my fridge for all of the to-go sauces, dressings, salsas that I can't part with.

Eden-yes, blogger is the "R" word but I said happy birthday to someone on Facebook the other day and it wouldn't post it so I hit "Share" or whatever like 5x. NExt day I saw I posted it 5x. Embarrassing.

tam said...

I roast them too! So good with a little salt yummy! x x

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

i dont like wasting ANY part of food either. I'm weird like that. Save all seeds! I like this roasted seed idea. Kinda like pepitas??
p.s.
I save the pulp when I make homemade almond milk. I freeze it and later use it to make cookies!! no wasting here. ha!

Ameena said...

I find it impossible to toss food of any kind...actually I was writing a post about it. Again. Apparently I find it hard to stop talking about it too.

I needed a lesson in roasting squash because as delicious as mine come out they don't look nearly as attractive as yours...now, if I use your recipe, maybe Maya and Ali will actually TRY it?

Anonymous said...

I hate throwung out stuff - I convert rice to rice pudding or mashed poatoes into potato pancakes.I freeze leftover grilled chicken for other recipes (pizza or mixed with BBQ sauce for sandwich) and leftover veggies for a hodgepodge of soup.
Ive never eaten the seeds although I knew they could be roasted (I mainy read about pumpkin seeds) I wonder if they could be added to a baked good (muffin) after roasting?
As for the trips, as I've said before, I buy babyfood butternut squash to use in muffins. Perfect size, no fridge required and travel well! I have used baby food since I was 15 or so in baked goods or yogurt/cottage cheese. I have always liked it (but I don't do Tracy Anderson baby food diet - I just like the preportioned size and the convenience@) I used to make a great plum cake using babyfood, but I cannot find just plums anymore :(

Great post - but this would have been a great Vlog post ;)
Missy

Pure2raw Twins said...

we try to reuse food when we can, LOL We do not like to waste either, sometimes when we make a meal or dish and the flavor is horrible we still manage to get it down because we feel bad throwing it away, especially since the food we eat tends to be not cheap haha

Julie said...

whenever my stomach tells me its bigger then it really is i always used to feel bad not finishing so i finished whatever was on my plate which was a BAD MOVE. haha now i've just realized oh hey julie just put it in your damn tupperware for lunch the next day! oh duh. as if it was that hard to think of from the start.

but i LOVE crunchy stuff like ADORE it so these skin chips are pretty much right up my alley in every ounce of the word

Deb (Smoothie Girl Eats Too) said...

Tam- yes for me, salt is non-negotiable :-)

Linds- oh, homemade almond milk?! I missed that blogger trend!

Ameena- some types of seeds are more 'attractive' than others. PErhaps you got the bum type :-)

Missy- yes I remember your genius baby food tip. And no, seeds do NOT go well in baked goods- you can sprinkle them on top but once they start to absorb moisture, it's icksville.

Pure2Raw- I go back & forth between choking something down and pouring it down the sink- lately I have no patience for bad tasting food or smoothies so they go to the great rubbish bin in the sky.

Julie- sometimes waiters think I'm a freak (who am I kidding, they always do) b/c I take a really small amount to-go to have as part of a meal later. Hey dammit, I paid for it, I can take it to go and we're not in Europe where they give you the stink-eye for even thinking about asking for something to take away.

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

I used to roast squash seeds. I'll have to do it again! I don't like wasting food either. I think I was told too many times not to waste anything when I was little... Plus, leftovers are a great way to make another meal with little effort. Very convenient. And it saves money. :)

McIntosh said...

Great to know there are so many of "us" out there...I used to think I did this because of being raised by nutty immigrant parents.

I never roast the seeds though mainly because it required to much cleaning off the stringy stuff plus I have a bit of an oven-phobia (: Usually I either try to plant them (never works) or compost.

Definitely will try the skin trick in the micro though. I always just ate it with the rest of the pulp but "crisps" sound a whole lot better.

As for leftovers...ugh I force down stuff that tastes icky (including many icy or gummy smoothie fails), save it and then end up making some random combo with mini-leftovers.

Ugh..I'm embarrassingly frugal to a fault with everything.

The only "tip" I can think of is adding water (or other appropo liquid) the remainder of condiments and using that as a sauce or dressing. I do it all the time with mustard, ketchup etc as well as other things that are so darn hard to use up completely. Do the same with toiletries but well...don't get me started (:

Paige @ Running Around Normal said...

oh my gosh - I've never thought about microwaving the seeds and skins! Thanks for the idea:)

Missy said...

It is so ON.
I am far too lazy to peel my squash but I for sure will try the seeds. Why didn't I think of that??

Sarah said...

Your fries looked perfect. Mine always looked wonky!

I'm a food waster. I've fallen into a bad habit of eating anything and everything regardless of taste. So I've found that if I don't like the taste of something, I will throw it away and start again so I'll be both physically and emotionally full.

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janetha @ meals & moves said...

yEAH! I learned this from YOU! IN THE FLESH! Nice. I am a big food waster. Sad but true. We throw away food gone bad all the time. Pesky habit :(

Kris | iheartwellness.com said...

I love me my seeds!!! These look FANTASTIC!!! Thank you!!!!

xxoo

Lisa {Smart Food and Fit} said...

Great post, I started to do same as you and save the seeds once I realized how easy it is to roast the seeds and they do taste delish!

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