Don’t Toss Those Squash Seeds!

What to do with squash seeds

As individuals, we toss $14.6 billion dollars worth of food away every year. When you include the food waste from restaurants, grocery stores, food manufacturers and farms, that amount rises to a staggering 31 billion.

Our food waste not only impacts our environment, but is especially thoughtless considering nearly 850,000 people visit food banks every month because they don’t have enough to eat.

Given that half of Canada’s food waste comes from our homes, there are lots of things we can do to reduce it, including:

  • menu planning
  • shop with a list and buy what you need
  • use and re-purpose your leftovers
  • store food properly
  • save vegetable scraps and bones to make broth
  • freeze food for later
  • compost

We’re in the heart of autumn and that means winter squashes are absolutely everywhere: pumpkin, butternut, delicata, acorn, kabocha, spaghetti and more. Winter squash is basically the best ever and I’m thrilled that we’re all eating it at this time of year, but I wonder how many of us scoop and toss those delicious seeds?

Toasted squash seeds are a healthful and delicious snack, and they’re so easy to make. Here’s what I do:

  1. Scoop out the squash seeds.
  2. Soak the seeds for about an hour, along with the pulp, in a bowl of cold water. I find that soaking the seeds and pulp makes it much easier to separate the seeds.
  3. Pull the seeds from the pulp.
  4. Season the seeds to taste.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees F until dry and toasty. Roasting time may vary, but I find it usually takes about 12-15 minutes.

I mostly use my toaster oven to bake the seeds, as the amount of seeds per squash are small (typically about 1/2 cup, depending on the variety and size of the squash). However, you can absolutely use your oven or toast them on the stovetop. If you have a food dehydrator, by all means use that too.

The other great thing about the seeds is that you can flavour them however you want. In the photo above, I tossed my seeds with salt, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and hot smoked paprika. Other flavour ideas are:

  • curry powder and maple syrup
  • basil, oregano and tomato paste/sauce
  • rosemary and thyme
  • dill and parsley
  • cumin and coriander
  • cayenne, salt and lemon
  • garam masala
  • plain old salt and pepper

Do you roast your squash seeds? What are your favourite flavours?


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3 Responses to Don’t Toss Those Squash Seeds!

  1. Janelle @ Wholly Healthy November 3, 2015 at 10:53 pm #

    Great idea! I always throw out my squash seeds, and never would have thought to do this with them.

  2. Paul February 23, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

    We had some lovely baked squash tonight, and even though I’m proud to say we do all of those important things on your excellent waste-reducing list above … I totally threw out the squash seeds :(

    But thanks to you Sondi, it’s a sure bet that next time we’ll be having yummy toasted butternut squash seeds for snackin!

    • Sondi February 23, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

      There’s always next time. :)