I love roasted pumpkin seeds.
They are both delicious and crunchy. What can be better than that? Crunchy food is happiness. Every year, I eagerly awaited my opportunity to buy sugar pumpkins, also known as a pie pumpkin, which are smaller and sweeter than the pumpkins used as jack o’lanterns.
Once I had my pumpkins, I was very happy. I made pumpkin bread, and I roasted the seeds. So delicious. Yum yum. More recently, I’ve expanded my pumpkin horizons by using at least some of the pumpkin puree that I had made for a pot of delicious pumpkin soup.
One day last fall, I was at the farmers market, where I noticed many large pumpkins. I looked around for pie pumpkins but couldn’t find even a single one.
Maybe I overlooked them? Could they be hiding in plain sight? I asked and was informed that the pie pumpkins had already been sold. When I explained why I needed pie pumpkins, I was told that I could use any winter squash to make my soup. And not only that, I could roast the seeds from any winter squash.
Wait. What? Say it ain’t so? This assertion that I could roast the seeds from any winter squash was challenging a long-standing belief that I held that only the seeds of a pumpkin are good for roasting!!
My belief was reinforced by recipes for various types of squash (not pumpkins), that offered this instruction: “Remove and discard the seeds.”
But, yes, you can eat squash seeds. You can eat them because pumpkins are winter squash and are, therefore, related to numerous other types of winter squash. I may paint faces on pumpkins and not on, say, a Hubbard squash, which is large and oddly shaped. Oh, and guess what else I found out? You know the pureed pumpkins that you get in cans to facilitate making pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie or pretty much anything else pumpkin?
Are you sitting?
Really. That’s not a misprint.
Pureed pumpkin from a can is made from Dickinson squash. There is no pumpkin in a can of pureed pumpkin.
I know that you are, at this moment, gasping in shock and horror.
But it’s true. Dickinson squash are preferred over pumpkins when making large batches of puree for commercial use. Their flesh is a dark orange, much darker than the pale flesh of jack o’lantern pumpkins. And they are bigger and easier to cut than a pie pumpkin. They look more pumpkin-ey than actual pumpkins.
Well, if you can use fake pumpkins to make pumpkin pie, what about roasting the seeds of other types of squash?
There’s only one way to find out! I roasted the seeds of some random winter squash, and I ate them. They were delicious. Since then, I’ve roasted a great variety of winter squashes, and I’ve also roasted the seeds. Some recipes call for the both the pulp of the squash and the seeds to be “removed and discarded,” but I haven’t done that.
Today, I had a squash. It looked like the squash on the left in the above picture. I chopped it into small pieces, and I roasted it, topped with a mixture of olive oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, and salt. I baked it for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees. The result was sweet but not excessively so. I also noticed that the squash skin was fairly thin and that, after cooking, was edible.
Once the squash was baked, it was time to roast the seeds. I had already removed the pulp and the seeds. Once the pumpkin was in the oven, I separated the pulp from the seeds and discarded the pulp. I washed and dried the seeds. Then I placed them in a baking dish. They are baked for approximately 20 minutes or until they are a lovely shade of brown. Then they get removed from the oven. Let the seeds sit for about ten minutes. That aids with making the seeds more crunchy. After that, it’s time for a snack!!!
Eat and enjoy your squash which-are-not-pumpkin seeds.
What long-held belief have you challenged lately?