People ask me all winter long if they can save the seeds they scoop out of winter squash to sow next season.
First, the fact that people ask me this gives me such hope for the world!
Humbling yet true: I am gently discouraging you from saving your squash seeds to plant next season.
Here's what we do with our squash seeds all winter:
1. Toast and eat them, see our recipe below!
2. Make squash seed roofs on gingerbread houses.
3. Stick them on peanut-buttered pinecones for the birds.
Ironically, I really don't recommend saving your squash seeds to sow next season, unless you know a great deal about its life story.
Squash seeds are one of our favorite snacks. Check out our recipe inspirations below!
Many varieties are F1 Hybrids, which won't grow true to type when saved. If you've bought your squash from a grocer or even a farmer's market, chances are good it's an F1 Hybrid. So yes, they'll grow, though the fruit they produce will most likely look nothing like what you're expecting.
The seeds of most winter squash are delicious except for decorative gourds, which are poisonous.
Even if your variety is an open-pollinated and heirloom, know all squash will readily cross with other squash, in its species, up to one mile. So unless you've grown the squash, know it's latin name and are confident it was isolated up to one mile (or you hand-pollinated it), assume the seed has crossed and won't grow true to type next season. Sigh.
If you're up for an adventure and aren't attached to the fruit being recognizable or delectable, save any and all seed! This is one of the ways new varieties are created in the world, which is so exciting as well as essential.
But if you're attached to having orange jack o'lanterns and quaint acorn squash, you're much better off sowing seed straight from the packet.
So yes, savoring your squash seeds rather than saving them may be the highest and best use of all the winter squash seeds you scoop this season! They are packed with protein and high quality oils, plus scores of vitamins and minerals.
Here is the recipe we use;
Rinse your winter squash seeds thoroughly, removing all pulp possible. Delicata to pumpkin, butternut to hubbard: each one unique, each one delicious!
1. Set oven to 350 F
2. Toss each half cup of seeds with one teaspoon of oil
2. Add salt, pepper and seasonings to taste
3. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
4. Roast for ~20 minutes, til seeds are golden and starting to pop. stirring them once or twice to ensure even roasting.
Optional and AWESOME: For the most crunchy yet melt-in-your-mouth seeds, soak them in a salty brine (2 teaspoons of salt per cup water) 12 to 24 hours prior to toasting. It seems superfluous, and sure it requires a touch more planning, but trust me: the results will ensure you never skip this step again :)
- Herbs de Provence
- Red pepper flakes + maple
- Zaatar (ground sesame, thyme + sumac)
I love saving seeds, let me count the ways :)
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