How to collect, dry and roast squash and sunflower seeds

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Last Updated: 
November 1, 2007

CORVALLIS - If you grow sunflowers, pumpkins or squash in your garden, harvest time is here. If you’d like to try gleaning out the seeds from these plants, you’ll have a nutritious snack. It is easy to dry and roast these high protein seeds.

Here’s how to clean, dry and roast your seeds from food preservation expert Nellie Oehler, family and community development faculty with the Oregon State University Extension Service.

For sunflower seeds, cut the spent flower heads, leaving a stem about one foot long. Hang each of these upside down in a dry location with good air circulation. Tie a cloth bag or a worn out, clean pair of panty hose around each head to catch the seeds, which might drop during drying.

For pumpkin and other winter squash seeds, wash and remove all clinging fiber from the seeds. Pumpkin and winter squash seeds can be dried in a dehydrator at 115 to 120 degrees until crisp or in a warm oven for an hour or two. Stir the seeds frequently until they are crisp.

For seasoned roasted seeds, try mixing two cups of the dry seeds in a bowl with a half-teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, 11/2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine and a teaspoon of salt. Place the coated seeds in a shallow baking pan and roast in a hot oven 300 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until crisp. Stir the seeds frequently, assuring that all are dry.

Cool the seeds after roasting in a plastic bag or container, removing as much air as possible. For long-term storage, store them in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent rancidity.

Author: Carol Savonen
Source: Nellie Oehler