Friday, January 29, 2016


For many reasons, I've decided to reduce how much food I waste.  I compost almost all of my kitchen scraps which then becomes soil to grow more vegetables in the garden.  I am also using more of everything, like getting a week's worth of meals from a single chicken.  Something I've started recently is roasting seeds.
Pumpkins and other gourds like squash make edible seeds and planting just a few can lead to a bountiful harvest. The remainder of the seeds can be roasted for a nutritious snack.  I've been doing it with every spaghetti squash I get from the food co-op and the effort is well worth it.

Step One

Sterilize everything... no, not really.  But I'll never retire a good running gag.  My first step to roasting seeds is to brine them.  Scoop out the pulp and seeds from the gourd.  Pumpkin, squash, sunflowers obviously, and even some melons yield seeds suitable for roasting.  
Wash and separate the seeds from the pulp.  Take the pulp out to the compost and soak the seeds in salt water.  Two cups of water to one tablespoon of salt is a good ratio but you can adjust this for taste.  You can even replace the table salt with a salt based flavoring like Old Bay.  Brining the seeds soaks flavor into the seed rather than sprinkling it on the surface after roasting.  
Soak the seeds any time from overnight to 24 hours or so.

Step Two

Before taking out the seeds, preheat the oven to 300 oF.  Now that the seeds have soaked overnight, drain and rinse the seeds and decide on a flavor.  The seeds will be damp after rinsing but don't pat them with paper towels; the seeds will stick to the towel.
I've found that the most effective way to flavor seeds is to toss them in a bag with flavoring.  Any powdered spice will work.  Remember they'll already be slightly salty from the brine.

  • Old Bay is a Chesapeake regional classic.
  • Go with Hatch, NM, chili powder for pepper heads like me.  
  • Garam masala makes an Indian inspired snack.
  • Use oregano and parmesan for Italian flavor.
  • Barbeque flavor can be yours with brown sugar, chipotle pepper, and ground cumin.
  • Or just leave the seeds brine salted.

Spread seeds evenly on a cookie sheet one layer thick.  If you have a lot of seeds, use several cookie sheets.
Roast the seeds for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step Three

Eat and enjoy.  Gourd and melon seeds are high in dietary fiber along with many essential minerals influenced by the soil they're grown in.  Roasted seeds are a very healthy snack and making them yourself lets you limit things like sodium that overwhelms store-bought snacks.