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We were first introduced to delicata squash by a woman who worked in the Central Market produce department in Poulsbo, Washington. She was handing out samples. It's an odd thing to remember considering it was at least a dozen years ago, but the taste and texture made a strong impression.
When I learned that the squash samples had been simply baked until tender and served with nothing - no butter or sugar, not even salt - I couldn't believe it, so delicious.
In the fall and winter, we eat a lot of delicata. We simply cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and strings, and roast it cut side down in about ½ inch of water at 400°F until tender, about 40 minutes. (bonus recipe 😉 )
Here's another tip: grapefruit spoons work wonderfully for scooping out the seeds and strings from smaller winter squash. Those sharp little teeth make quick work of it.
Last week I saw that we had two delicata squashes coming and I started to think about the seeds. I'd toasted pumpkin seeds many times over the years, but had never tried toasting the dainty, plump seeds that come from a delicata. Then I stumbled across this post by Diane of Created by Diane and was intrigued. She claimed that the secret to perfectly roasted seeds was to meticulously clean them and then...wait for it...boil them first.
I tried her method, and now I'm a believer. I don't know why it makes a difference, but these are the lightest, crispiest toasted seeds I've ever had. Perfect on their own and perfect as a salty snack for some of my favorite cocktails: The Last Word Cocktail, Boulevardier Cocktail, French 75 Cocktail and the Campari Spritz!
Crunchy Salty Roasted Delicata Squash Seeds
- 1 cup seeds from 2 delicata squashes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Cut delicata squashes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and membrane into a medium bowl; add enough water to cover. Use your fingers to separate out the seeds, allowing them to drop to the bottom of the bowl and membrane float to the top (be meticulous!). Discard membrane. Drain.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Place seeds and ½ teaspoon salt into small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. (7-10 minutes if the seeds are larger, as from a pumpkin)
- Strain seeds and place in a small bowl, again removing any remaining bits of membrane. Drizzle with a teaspoon or two of olive oil; toss to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes taking care not to brown or burn.
- When the seeds are dry and crisp remove from oven. Toss with more salt to taste. Allow to cool. Enjoy!