Growing and saving healthy seeds is what we do at the farm. It’s some of the most important work that can be done in today’s world. Consider what Seed Matters has to say:
We usually don’t think about seed when we sit down to eat our cereal in the morning or tuck the kids into their cotton sheets at night, but it all starts with seed. And the seed we sow affects the quality, nutrition, cost, and environmental impact of all the food we eat and every fiber we wear.
The last several decades of industrial agriculture have developed seed that is suited to intensive chemical agriculture. While this has sometimes resulted in higher yields, it has come with very real costs. Unintended consequences include air and water pollution, increased pesticide use, greater dependence on fossil fuels, degraded soil health, increased exposure to toxins in farm workers, and the loss of biological and genetic diversity.
Pretty important stuff, right? But consider the other equally-important argument for growing and saving healthy seeds:
“Sweet Lord Baby Jesus these taste awesome toasted and tossed with salt and cayenne!”
As these cold days of winter begin to set in, don’t ever miss an opportunity to toast up some seeds. Pumpkin seeds are the standard. But squash seeds can be just as good.
A couple weeks ago, we were working double-time to clear the fields of all remaining produce. And I ended up with a tub of Delicata Squash. The rejects, from plants that might have cross-pollinated with another variety.
“Cook ‘em up,” said Matthew. “We don’t need the seeds.”
Roasted squash. Squash bread. Squash apple soup. No problem, I got some plans.
The first batch of seeds I scooped out of the first Delicata went straight to the chickens. Which is a great treat for them, especially since they’re all molting and sad looking. More protein in their diet to regrow those feathers.
But looking at the tub, it occurred to me: there’s a lot of seeds in there. I mean, a lot. Sending it all straight to the chickens felt like a little bit of a waste. Time to toast a few.
“I’ve never had good luck toasting squash seeds,” said Matthew. “Too fibrous.”
Mine turned out great. Sweet Lord Baby Jesus.
The trick – I think – is to soak the seeds in water overnight, helps them to soften up. You end up toasting them twice as long as usual – 20-ish minutes at 350 F – but they seem to cook more evenly and don’t burn from the inside out.
Before toasting, be sure to toss the squash seeds with some oil, salt, and whatever other spices you want.
“I always ground up my squash seeds after toasting them,” said Matthew. “I use them like a spice in other things. You get that nuttiness without the fibrous texture.”
Growing and saving healthy seeds is critically important, people. Because they taste so damn good.
Seed Matters, http://seedmatters.org/