Hard squashes, aka winter squash and fall squash, are a uniquely American product. Early Native Americans held them in a place of reverence, as one of the Three Sisters, the other “sisters” being corn and beans.
You may be wondering why.
Well, it all comes down to the symbiotic nature these crops shared. Nutritionally, these three crops alone could sustain the community. Agriculturally, these three crops were among the first shared plantings; the corn provided a much needed platform for the bean vines to grow upon and shade the the squash plants, the squash served as a natural barrier for the beans and corn, and the beans put much needed nitrogen back into the soil.
Where the name squash was derived?
The word squash comes from Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which translates to “eaten raw or uncooked”.
Why you should always eat your winter squash seeds
Typically, when preparing winter squash, the seeds are scooped out and unnecessarily discarded, but we have a delicious suggestion that embraces our food waste initiative and has tons of flavor. Save the seeds and eliminate that food waste by roasting them and using them in salads, sauces, or even own their own as a simple snack. Roasting the seeds is simple, for every 1 cup of seeds, use 1 tablespoon of oil and whatever seasonings you like. You can go simple with nothing but salt, or any number of seasoning blends. Roast at a lower temperature, 275 – 300 degrees, until brown and crisp. Line your pan with either parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Here are some seasoning ideas to flavor these guys in style:
- Mexican Spiced: oregano, cumin, chili powder, cayenne powder, salt
- Indian Spiced: cumin, coriander, ground ginger, cayenne powder
- Cinnamon and Salt
- Buffalo Style: sub the oil for melted butter and add the hot Sauce of your choice, toss and roast the seeds ay 300 degrees until browned and crisp
- Maryland Style with Seafood Seasoning
Content provided by Daniel Snowden, the Director of Culinary Development for FreshPoint Central Florida. He has been in the produce industry years almost 20 years, and loves getting geeky about food. Follow FreshPoint Central Florida on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.