Winter squash, such as pumpkin, sweet dumpling, and buttercup, are bountiful during this time of year. They’re a beautiful way to decorate a home in the fall. They’re also a great way to get beta carotene into your diet to decrease the risk of certain eye diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Beta carotene is what makes most winter squash flesh orange.
This is the first year that I’ve tried buttercup squash. It’s the dark green squash with lighter green stripes next to the pumpkin in the photo below. By the way, I purchased the big pumpkin in the photo for $3.99 at Trader Joe’s. What a deal!
While preparing the buttercup squash for dinner, I saved its seeds. They’re similar to pumpkin seeds. I left them out to dry on my kitchen counter for a couple of days and rubbed them clean to expose their white shells. You can also rinse the seeds first and then dry them. They can be eaten raw or toasted to add protein, iron, potassium, and phosphorus to your diet. Remember, it’s best to eat seeds sparingly because they are high in total fat and calories.
To toast seeds without turning on the oven, place seeds in a single layer in a heavy, ungreased skillet. Then, toast over medium heat for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan and stirring them until they are lightly brown. The seeds are almost ready when you hear them start to “snap, crackle, and pop”. Transfer them immediately to a dish to cool before eating.