While you may have heard of pumpkin seeds before, did you know there are several other types of squash seeds that you can enjoy? Squash is a relatively easy vegetable to grow and store, making it easy to harvest the seeds. However, if you find yourself tossing out the seeds every time you clean out a squash, you're leaving a lot of great nutrition and flavor in the trash.
To help you enjoy your food to the fullest and leave nothing to waste, we've created a list of which types of squash seeds are edible and how you can use them in your meals. This article will also compare pumpkin seeds vs. squash seeds to help you determine which will work better in your recipes.
Are Squash Seeds Edible?
Though it may come as a surprise, all types of squash seeds are edible and contain nutritional benefits. You can enjoy butternut squash seeds, acorn squash seeds and spaghetti squash seeds in all ways that pumpkin seeds can be enjoyed, and use them to add a unique and tasty flavor to your dishes.
Eating Squash Seeds
All squash seeds taste similar and add a delightful nutty flavor and subtle crunch to your recipes. They can be roasted, salted, spiced and sprouted; some can even be enjoyed raw or turned into nut butter. No matter how you enjoy these seeds, they provide excellent nutritional benefits.
Like pumpkin seeds, the squash seed shell is edible. However, most people find that the seed is best enjoyed de-hulled. Therefore, the seeds are often boiled or roasted to remove the shell, and the hull is discarded. This process leaves the kernel, known as a pepita, for your enjoyment. You can use pepitas in soups, salads, desserts and butter.
One of the several benefits of roasting squash seeds before enjoying them is that they'll remain fresh for longer. This is especially beneficial if you store the cooked seeds for long periods. Seeds can be kept at room temperature or stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
Squash Seed Nutrition
While squash seeds' nutritional value varies depending on the type of squash consumed, the differences are minimal. Nearly all types of squash seeds contain fiber, protein and healthy fats, making them a nutritious addition to your diet. Squash seeds are also a source of iron, calcium and magnesium. Because squash seeds contain high amounts of oil, they are also usually high in fats. However, most of the fats found in these seeds are healthy unsaturated fats.
When looking at the caloric content of squash seeds, they are not considered low-calorie food. For example, one serving of our Organic Pumpkin Seeds contains 150 calories. Therefore, when adding squash seeds to your meals, it's important to remember that only a tiny amount is needed to reap the nutritional benefits.
Preparing Squash Seeds
Squash seeds are always found at the center of the squash. This being, you'll need to cook and deseed the squash before enjoying the seeds. When using recipes that contain squash seeds, we recommend making another recipe that week that uses the squash. Using the entire squash in your meals is a great way to reap all of the nutritional benefits the squash has to offer. It will also cut down on food waste.
So, how do you get the seeds out of the squash? If you've ever hand-carved a pumpkin before, you're probably familiar with the stringy and slimy pulp in the center. To free up the squash seeds, you'll need to remove them from the pulp. However, don't worry about cleaning the seeds before you roast them. The pulp is entirely edible; anything left on the seed will provide additional flavor.
Pumpkin Seeds vs. Squash Seeds
With squash seeds becoming increasingly popular in everyday recipes, many people wonder what the difference is between squash seeds and pumpkin seeds. The simple answer is that the term squash seeds refers to several types of seeds and squashes. On the other hand, the term pumpkin seeds only refers to the seeds derived from a pumpkin.
Because pumpkin is a type of squash, pumpkin seeds are also considered squash seeds. However, when a recipe calls for squash seeds, it's important to note that it does not always refer to a pumpkin and could suggest using butternut, acorn, or spaghetti squash seeds instead.
If you're wondering how you can tell the difference between pumpkin seeds and other squash seeds, you'll want to look at these factors: Shape, nutritional value and texture.
The Shape of the Squash Matters
Pumpkins are typically thicker than other squash types and have a rounder shape. Additionally, the stem of a pumpkin is hard and firm, making it easier to handle. Different types of squash are known to have more delicate stems that are more likely to break. Knowing the kind of squash you're starting with is key to understanding which seed will be used in your recipe.
All types of squash seeds are considered high-nutrient food. And while they share many similarities, there are some notable differences. Review the nutritional facts of our Organic Pumpkin Seeds below to understand their nutritional value better.
Bob's Red Mill Organic Pumpkin Seed Nutritional Facts
Serving Size 3 Tbsp
Total Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 2.5g
Trans Fat 0g
Total Carbohydrate 3g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 9 g
Vitamin D 0mcg
After reviewing the nutritional facts above, you'll notice that pumpkin seeds contain a significant amount of protein and are a good source of healthy fats. That being said, you can usually substitute squash seeds with pumpkin seeds and vice versa without seeing a significant change in the overall nutrition of the meal.
Different types of squash will produce different textured seeds. Additionally, the area where the squash is grown will affect the flavor and texture. Note the kind of squash seed your recipe calls for and try to use that type or a similar one for the best results.
Roasting Different Sized Seeds
Whether you plan on using one variety of squash seeds, or many, you might wonder how long it takes each to roast. As mentioned above, different squash seeds will vary in size and texture. However, this doesn't typically affect their roasting time by much. When substituting one type of squash seed for another, note the type of seed that the recipe suggests. Then, determine if your seed is smaller or larger than the suggested seed. Smaller seeds will cook more quickly, whereas larger seeds will require longer cooking times. However, the difference is a matter of minutes. When roasting squash seeds, we recommend starting with a roast time of five minutes and checking them periodically until they begin to brown. The goal is to produce a seed that is crisp and salty. A seed that has cooked too long will be burned with a charred flavor and may even end up soggy.
Cooking with Squash Seeds
Eager to begin cooking with squash seeds? Try out one of the delicious pumpkin-based recipes below. Whether you choose to make creamy vegan pasta or on-the-go energy bars, these treats are the perfect way to show off your cooking skills.
Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta with Sage and Pumpkin
A vegan and gluten free pasta dish, this recipe uses squash and its seeds to make a delicious no-waste meal. This silky smooth dinner is made with whole food ingredients and contains essential vitamins and minerals. A scoop of nutritional yeast is added for a boost of flavor to produce a cheesy taste loaded with B vitamins. Top this Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta with Sage and Pumpkin pasta off with crunchy pumpkin seeds and fried safe for the ultimate veggie-based meal.
Pumpkin Chai Boost Bars
If you feel your energy draining come mid-day, it may be time to work an energy bar into your routine. These Pumpkin Chai Boost Bars are the perfect way to maintain energy levels between meals. In addition, these bars provide numerous health benefits and are made with a mix of Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Natural Almond Flour and Whole Grain Oat Flour. Plus, they are simple to make and can be enjoyed by eaters of all ages!
Whether you choose to cook with pumpkin seeds or another type of squash seed, you're sure to love the result. Packed with nutritional value, cooking with squash seeds is an excellent way to ensure that you're meeting the recommended intake of vitamins and minerals. Choose from one of the recipes above, or visit our online recipe book for more great-tasting meals. From the Bob’s Red Mill family to yours, have a healthy and happy day!