Thursday, November 29, 2012

Candied Citrus Rinds - Preserving 101


- Jessica S. Herwick

Candied citrus rinds have a long history.  Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all soaked citrus peels in honey (there was no such thing as refined sugar in ancient days).  These preserves were used as sweet treats, and as medicine. Candied citrus reached the height of popularity back in the Eighteenth Century.  When most of the world’s cultures still referred to candies as sweetmeats, these candied lemon and orange rinds  - know as citrus chips during this period- considered some of the most desired of all treats.
Citrus fruit was  more difficult to obtain in those days, and so, imported lemons and oranges were candied to increase their shelf life (and their value).  You might say that the truest fans of citrus chips then, were as dedicated a group as today's chocoholics.

I have been using the recipe below to candy lemon and orange peels for years.  You can also try it with grapefruit and lime peels.  I prefer the lemon, and find that as a jam maker, I often have an excess of rinds, which I don’t like to waste!  I give them as gifts along with the loose herbal teas that I dry from my garden.  I also use this recipe 
when introducing my friends to the art of home made jams and the science of preserving.  If you are a seasoned canner who likes to make jams and compotes, you can use this recipe to make good use of all those left over rinds. After squeezing your fresh lemon juice, you know there’s always a nice handful of left overs!  If you are a beginner canner, and have never made or canned jams before but would like to try, this recipe is a great way to boost your preserving confidence through safe practice.  You will become familiar with how the sugar reacts to heat, with the rhythm and timing sugar recipes require, and the various changes your syrup goes through as it cooks on the stovetop.  

The best part of this process for beginners (and for all) is the safety aspect. Because there is no fruit in your mixture, and you are only candying the peels, you do not have to process these rinds to preserve them safely once you finish the recipe – meaning no hot water bath or pressure canner is necessary!  If you follow the recipe, and ensure your finished candied rinds are completely dry and covered properly in sugar, you can store the finished product in an airtight container for up to 6 months (in a dry, cool, dark place where temperature does not fluctuate too often) without any need for additional preserving processes to be applied!.

Candied lemon rinds can be eaten as-is as a candy treat.  You can chop them and use them in cookies and candies.  They make adorable cake decorations, and are also pretty yummy when you dip the tips of the finished, dried rinds in chocolate.  My favorite use for these rinds is to put them in my herb tea.  The lemon and sugar combination adds a nice flavor and acts as a mild sweetener.  Best of all, when your tea is gone, you are left with a warm, chewy burst of lemon to munch on once the candied rind has soaked in the tea. 

PHASE ONE: PREPARE THE CITRUS PEELS                
                                                          You Will Need
The Peels from 5 pounds of Citrus Fruit (lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime)                                   
Clean Scrub Brush or Veggie Scrubber
Sharp Knife
Bowl (to hold the fruit once you peel it)
Strainer
Large Pot with Lid (to blanch rinds)
Access to cold water                                               
           
Instructions
   ·      Use the scrub brush to wash the exterior of the fruit thoroughly.
Hint: Many citrus fruits have a sticker or brand name stamped on them.  Inspect your citrus to ensure stickers or the glue they leave behind as well as ink from name-brand stamps are completely scrubbed from your fruits.
   ·      Cut the leathery ends from the fruit.
   ·      Use a knife to score into quarters and remove rinds (aka peels) and  
        cut rinds into strips – no wider than ¼”.
Hint: The pith (white layer between the skin of the peel and the fruit) candies very well.  Do not pick it away, unless there are long, loose strands that would fall off during the candying process.
    ·      Blanch Peels

BLANCHING- A fancy way of saying boil quickly, sometimes more than once. Blanching sanitizes and softens the rinds, making it
easier for the food to accept the syrup you’re using to preserve it. It also reduces the amount of bitter oils in the rind. How to blanch is below. 
            ·      Place citrus strips in large saucepan and   
            cover with cold water. 
            ·      Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil   
                uncovered for 60 seconds. 
            ·     Drain, then return rinds to saucepan, 
                cover with cold water (MUST be cold) 
                and bring to a boil a second time.
            ·    Repeat 4 to 10 more times, until rinds 
               are soft and more flexible.
                   (thicker rind = more repetition).
            ·    If you haven’t already started your   
               sugar syrup, drain rinds and place back  
               in the pot you boiled them in, removed from heat, and put the lid back on. Keep in pot until   
               Sugar Syrup is prepared.

PHASE TWO: PREPARE SUGAR SYRUP          
                                  You Will Need                                                                                    
        Large pot with high ends
        5 cups Sugar
        5 cups Water
        Candy Thermometer

Instructions
    ·      Combine 5 cups sugar and 5 cups water with wire whisk over medium heat.  Stir often and bring to a rolling boil, then quickly lower heat so the sauce remains at a low simmer. (Photo 5)
    ·      Do not let the temperature rise above 220 degrees on the candy thermometer.  

Hint: If your heat cannot be lowered fast enough, remove your pot for a few moments while waiting for
your burner to cool down if your thermometer reaches 220.  I often have to do this when using an 
electric stovetop.

CAUTION!  The sugar and water may react to each other when the temperature gets very high and the syrup boils, which is why it’s recommended to use a pot higher and larger than the mass of the syrup.  See photo on right and consider yourself warned!


PHASE THREE: CANDY THE PREPARED PEELS                    
          You Will Need
Prepared Rinds (see above)
Prepared Sugar Syrup (see above)
Sugar for coating the rinds

Instructions
    ·      Add the prepared peels to the already prepared and simmering sugar syrup.  Continue to simmer gently. DO NOT STIR.  Simmer rinds undisturbed. 
     
Hint: If you find rinds peeking out of the syrup, swirl the pot by 
the handle to move peels around, or use a tongs to gently flip 
peels or push them into the syrup. Resist the urge to stir. This is 
the hardest part for me!  I constantly fight the urge to stir.

·      Simmer until peels turn translucent. This is a process.  It will 
take from one to 5 hours, depending on how quickly the water 
boils out of your sugar syrup, and the quality and size of your 
rinds (and how well you blanched them)
·      Pull rinds out in small groups and drain peels on a wire 
cooling rack overnight. Do not let them touch each other or you 
will have a sticky mess in the morning!
·      After overnight drying, toss the rinds in sugar to coat each 
one. Place on wax paper to dry again for 4 to 5 hours (or 2 hrs. 
in an unheated oven on a cookie sheet).
·      Store in clean, air-tight containers or bags and enjoy at your 
leisure.


To learn more about what Cooperative Extension is saying, check out the links:

Go here for more information about food preservation safety from the Extension.

National Center for Home Food Preservation Interactive Tutorial.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What to do with all those leaves?

The leaves are falling and the yearly cleanup begins. What strategies are the best to use the leaves in your garden.

1. Discard all leaves of diseased trees or plants from the garden. Do not add them to the compost. Instead, throw them out with the garbage.

2. Masses of leaves should not be allowed to overwinter on your lawn. They will compact and deprive the grass of light and air. Remove the leaves and use them as mulch or add them to your compost pile OR mow them. If you do not have a tremendous amount of leaves, mowing them weekly until they have finished falling will give your lawn nutrients and will provide some shade preventing weeds from growing.

3. Use whole leaves as mulch around plants that have just been planted. The leaves will keep the soil warm and give the roots time to get established. (Leaves should never be placed close to the base of a tree or shrub. It should be a minimun of 6"to 8" away)

3. Use leaves across your gardens bare soil to prevent erosion during the winter.

4. Apply them to established gardens to prevent the soil from freezing and defrosting "heaving" in the winter and premature warming in the spring.

5. Shredding the leaves hastens the process for use as mulch or compost in your garden giving you a dark rich high carbon material.

6. Contact your municipality for information on leaf pick up or drop off . They often shred and make compost to be used in public gardens or provide the community with compost in the spring.
For information on The City of  Philadelphia leaf drive:        Leaf Drive Q&A     Leaf Drive City

7. Finally.........use those beautiful leaves to give artful color to your fall decorating or Thanksgiving Ttable.


Our Native Plants: Fall Wow!



Kristin Lacey

For those who have heard me discuss the challenges of my courtyard space in Fishtown, I can sound like a bratty-broken record. “It’s a Mediterranean micro-climate”, I relay. And, it is indeed a Philly heat-island affected, south facing, protected, and mostly brick-covered space.



To accommodate the heat and arid conditions of our yard, I replaced 4 finicky ergo deceased sky pencils (Ilex crenata) with 2 native straight-species Iteas. 



Itea virginica has 4 seasons of interest in the garden but fall is its showiest moment. Its 4 foot by 4 foot arching form gracefully displays its flaming autumn color. In sunny spots, the Itea will turn fiery crimson, burgundy, and purple. In full or partly-shady spots, its autumn leaves will be orange, gold and scarlet.

Leaves will hang in there well into winter and the twigs will stay their deep red. In spring the leaves fan out dramatically and in early to mid-summer large white flower clusters emerge. 

Itea is very adaptable to various soil conditions and it’s quite handsome, which makes it a wow of a native plant.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

HortLine, all year round

This year, for the first time, The Penn State Extension Philadelphia Master Gardeners will provide answers to email questions all year round. The Horticulture hotline (HortLine) is a free service for residents of Philadelphia. Master Gardeners are ready to answer questions pertaining to the appropriate selection of vegetables, ornamental plants, pesticides, soil, plant identification, pruning, compost, mulch, insect control, plant diseases and more. In winter we expect questions about houseplant care and diseases and planning for the 2013 outdoor growing season.



To contact the Philadelphia HortLine (from November until March)

Storage tips for winter vegetables


Gardeners often have more vegetables than they can use or have grown vegetables to be stored and used through the winter. This article from the extension gives some tips for storing your winter vegetables.


The demand for locally grown produce continues to rise in Pennsylvania, providing excellent opportunities for producers to extend their marketing season into the fall and winter. Proper storage management in vegetables such as winter squash, onions and carrots will result in less decay, fewer losses and more high quality product to sell to eager consumers during the cold months.
(note: the September Vegetable Gazette (http://goo.gl/Q28hk) included an article by Bill Lamont on potato storage tips. This article follows up with tips for some other common storage vegetables.)
Only clean, mature, and undamaged vegetables should be placed into storage. Quality cannot be improved after harvest; it can only be maintained. Injured, damaged or diseased produce loses moisture and decays more rapidly than healthy, undamaged produce. Maximize storage life by holding each produce item in its optimum temperature and relative humidity range.

Winter Squash: Store only mature winter squashes, indicated by hardness, color and stem corking. Curing may help harden rinds, but is not recommended for acorn types. Cure by holding winter squash at 80-850F and 80-85% relative humidity for ten days. After curing, store winter squashes at 55-590F (50-550F for green rind types), and 50-60% relative humidity. Winter squash may quickly show symptoms of chilling injury if held below 500F. Expect transpiration losses on the order of 1-1.5% per week. Most winter squashes store well for two to three months; a little less for acorns and a little more for hubbards. Ethylene exposure may fade color in green rind types.

Onions: Proper curing after harvest is essential for high quality storage onions. Onions can be cured in or out of the field, with or without the use of forced air. Whatever method is chosen, necks must be completely dry before placing onions in storage. Once in storage, onions should be held as close to 320F as possible, but not below. A relative humidity of 75-80% results in the best scale (onion skin) color. Under excellent storage conditions, onions can store 6-9 months, but 3-6 months is more typical. Exposure to ethylene encourages sprouting.

Carrots: More mature carrots will store longer than less mature ones. Like onions, the optimum holding temperature for carrots is 320F but not below. Carrots are prone to water loss, so relative humidity should be 98-100%. However, avoid conditions that allow free water to collect, as this will speed decay. Carrots can be stored for 3-5 months under good conditions. Exposure to ethylene in storage results in the development of bitter flavor compounds, so do not store carrots with ethylene-producing items.

Beets: Tops should be removed close to the bulb, and any damaged roots removed. The storage temperature should be around 320F but not below, and relative humidity maintained near 95% to minimize shrinkage. Beets can be stored for several months under proper conditions. 

Link to blog  Posted: October 3, 2012 Contact Information
Lee Stivers
Extension Educator, Horticulture 

Winter Squash Seeds


~ Jessica S. Herwick
The term squash comes from the centuries old Narragansett Indian word ‘askutasquash’.  The literal translation in English means ‘a green thing eaten raw’ and was probably used to describe a number of vegetables from the garden.  English speaking settlers shortened the term to squash and applied it to the four species of the Cucurbita family of plants that we know today in America as our summer and winter squash (C. maxima, C. mixta, C. moschata and C. pepo).  Summer squash are harvested when the fruit is young and the seeds are still small, soft, and easy to eat raw.  Winter squash are harvested later in the fruits maturity.  Their skin is much tougher, seeds larger (and thusly packed with more vitamins and minerals), and have a much longer shelf life.  Now that the season of the summer squash has long gone, we have ushered in the arrival of Autumn, and with it, the delicious season of the winter squash.  

Winter squash appear in a variety of shapes and forms throughout the holiday season at all sorts of delicious feasts and classy dinner parties.   They are the last things to harvest and seasonally, so it would make sense that winter squashes possess nutritional values that are useful for your body to aid in sustaining the winter months.  The seeds are usually the first thing discarded when you’re preparing to roast your acorn squash, but the seeds have as much value as the rest of the fruit!

Winter squash seeds might be one of the most underrated healthy snacks available to us (and so easy to make!).  You’ve seen pumpkin seeds roasted, packaged, and sold for snacking… second only to sunflower seeds. And why not?  They’re delicious, especially this time of the year when pumpkins are being harvested, decorated, baked into pies, and placed on doorsteps and center pieces all over the nation.  Pumpkin is certainly worth celebrating, but did you know that squash pumpkins are not the only winter squash with seeds worth toasting in the oven? 

Any winter squash seeds can be toasted, seasoned, and stored as a nutritious snack or for adding to baked goods or salads.  I recommend acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash seeds, but any type of winter squash seed will cook nicely, hold your seasonings, and provide similar nutrition benefits.  You can harvest a variety of seeds at once, mix them and roast them together for an interesting color and shape combination.  You can also keep them separate, if you have a sensitive palate and like to taste for the subtle, distinct flavors of each seed. 

Health Benefits
Just like the pumpkin seed, all winter squash seeds have the same nutritional values and can be roasted, toasted or candied using the same recipe and method.  Although the vitamin and mineral percentages vary slightly (depending on the maturity and size of the seed, and the type of winter squash seed) you will find the following health benefits present in all winter squash seeds:


One Quarter Cup of Winter Squash Seeds Contain
   ~  Roughly 4 grams of Fiber
3 grams of Plant-Based Protein
   ~  Varying levels of vitamins A and C and B9 (also known as Folate)
 ~  Varying levels of minerals: Potassium, Calcium and Iron
    ~ Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats

  
    THE BEST METHOD FOR PREPARING SEEDS:

      
      Cut open the winter squash (pumpkin, acorn, or other) by cutting a hole around the top of the squash, like you are cutting a jack-O-lantern top.  

      Remove the top. Pull off any string and seed that stick to the top.  As you remove seeds, place them back in the squash.  Set large strings or pieces of the squash meat aside.
     The easiest way to remove the seeds is to place the pumpkin or squash in a colander and place in sink.  

     Run water gently from the faucet into the squash.  Fill ¾ with water and then put your hand in to swirl the seeds free. You will see them float up to the surface of the water. 

     Continue filling the squash, swirling your hand against the edges of the insides to free seeds and skim them into the collider.  If you let the water overflow very gently    


Rinse the seeds well. This may take several minutes. 

Use your fingers to clean off any squash meat or strings that might stick to the seeds.  

Continue to rinse until water runs clear and there is no evidence of squash on the seeds.




In a small saucepan, mix the seeds with water by combining 2 cups of water with every half-cup seeds.  

Add a half-tablespoon of salt for every cup of water (more if you like your seeds saltier). 
NOTE: If you are using sweet flavors to season seeds, replace the salt with sugar or honey during the boiling process.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain seeds in a colander until mostly dry. 


Air-dry seeds for 5 to 10 minutes in a single layer on a paper towel, until most of the moisture has evaporated off of the seeds.  They might feel a little sticky.  That’s okay.  But if they are slimy and slip out of your hands, they are not dry enough.

Winter squash seeds draining after boiling process. 
Fresh, clean seeds ready for the boiling water process.

BEST METHOD FOR ROASTING PREPARED SQUASH SEEDS:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Move your baking rack to the top rung.
Spread about a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a roasting pan or cookie sheet. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in one, single layer.

NOTE: If you are using spices or seasonings, toss the seeds in the seasoning with light olive oil or egg whites, drain in colander, then place in roasting pan and sprinkle lightly with more seasoning.  Then continue to the next step.

Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. (Smaller pumpkin seeds could toast more quickly.) When browned to your satisfaction, remove from the oven and lightly salt.  Let the pan cool on a rack and allow the seeds cool all the way down before eating or storing.
If storing seeds, use freezer bag or air-tight container. 

BEST METHOD FOR TOASTING PREPARED SQUASH SEEDS
Prepare seeds as noted, in a salt or sugar water boiling bath.
Place a shallow layer of unflavored oil in the skillet (instead of the roasting pan).  Season seeds according to recipe and place in skillet, then heat for five to seven minutes, or until the seeds are light golden brown and slightly puffy.
Stir or toss often, as the seeds will scorch quickly and you want to brown all sides.
Once seeds are toasted to your preference, remove from heat and cool seeds by removing them from the skillet and placing them on a plate lined with paper towel (to soak up the excess oil).  You may want to taste one and add additional seasoning, salt or pepper.  Allow to cool completely before storing in an air tight container.


BEST METHODS FOR CANDY COATING SEEDS

The Short Version: 
Quick and Simple Candy Coated Seeds
Ingredients
½ cup of squash seeds
2 tbs. water
2 tbs. sugar
Instructions
Combine ½ cup seeds, sugar and water to a small saucepan. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil on medium heat.  Once you reach the boiling point, immediately reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Continue to stir the seeds into the mixture.  The sugar mixture will begin to reduce to a stickier, thicker consistency.  You are looking for a golden color and a thickness that allows the sauce to stick to the seeds and coat it evenly.

If the syrup is looking too runny, continue to simmer until the sauce is reduced to a thicker consistency. All the seeds should be coated and the syrup should be mostly gone when the sauce has reached the candying point.  Once seeds are fully coated, use a strainer to remove any excess candy coating (be gently because you don’t want to disturb the coating on the seeds).   Lay seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper to dry.  This should take 30 to 60 minutes.

If you remove the seeds to dry and the candy coating is still sticky after 30 minutes, place the whole tray directly into the unheated oven for an hour.  This will pull some of the moisture from the candy coating and make the surface harder and crunchier. Make sure to let them dry on parchment paper in a single layer. If you find these are not crunchy enough for you, pop them in your unheated oven for an hour to crisp them up a little more.

The Long Version: Fancy Candied Seeds
Ingredients
3 cups winter squash seeds
2 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
Place squash seeds in a shallow baking pan in a 250° oven for 10 minutes or until warmed. Grease a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with 1 tablespoon butter; set aside.

Grease the sides of a large heavy saucepan with remaining butter; add sugar, water, salt and cinnamon. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium and stir (at medium heat) until mixture comes to a rolling boil. Do not rush the boiling process by turning the heat up! Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 2 minutes at a simmer to dissolve sugar crystals.

Remove cover and continue to simmer, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 236° (soft-ball stage). Remove from the heat; add vanilla. Stir in squash seeds and toss in candy sauce until evenly coated.  Use colander to drain excess candy sauce from the seeds.  Spread onto prepared baking pan. Bake at 250° for 10 to 20 minutes, shaking the seeds on in the pan every 5 to 7 minutes until candy coating becomes crispy. Remove from oven and spread on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet to cool. 


ADVENTUROUS SPICE MIXTURES FOR CONVERSATION STARTING FLAVORS
Try some of these recipes for tasty treats that are still pretty good for you!

Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper
Ingredients
1 egg white
1 ½ teaspoon Sea Salt or Table Salt
1 ½ teaspoons Cracked Pepper or Ground Table Pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup winter squash seeds
Instructions
Preheat oven to 375. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the egg white, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Add the seeds and toss well. Drain off any excess egg white (using a strainer) and place seeds in a single layer across a baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes or until seeds are golden. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar and cayenne pepper when they come out of the oven. Taste and season further if needed.

Sweet & Spicy Seeds
Ingredients
1 egg white
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grained sea salt
1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds
Instructions
Preheat oven to 375. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the egg white, sugar, cayenne and salt. Add the pumpkin seeds and toss well. Drain off any excess egg white (using a strainer) and place seeds in a single layer across a baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes or until seeds are golden. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar and cayenne pepper when they come out of the oven. Taste and season further if needed.

Curried Seeds
Ingredients
1 egg white
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon fine grained sea salt
1 cup fresh winter squash seeds
Instructions
Preheat oven to 375.
In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the egg white, curry powder and salt. Add the pumpkin seeds and toss well. Drain off any excess egg white (using a strainer) and place seeds in a single layer across a baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes or until seeds are golden. Sprinkle with a bit more curry powder when they come out of the oven. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
NOTE:  You can replace the curry powder with any dried, powdered herb!  Experiment!  Try trading the curry for cinnamon and the salt for sugar.  Perfect for the sweet tooth.

Tea & Butter Seeds
You can use many different types of tea here. Choose a tea that is fragrant and has a pronounced flavor for best results.  I prefer Earl Grey tea because I like the flavor of the bergamot.  I’ve most recently been experimenting with Celestial Seasonings Sweet Coconut Thai Decaffeinated Red Tea and sweet cream butter.  Yummy.
Ingredients
1 teaspoon earl grey tea
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon fine grained sea salt
1 cup fresh winter squash seeds
Instructions
Preheat oven to 375. Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, grind the tea into a fine powder. Set aside.  In a medium-sized bowl combine the butter and salt. Add the pumpkin seeds and toss well. Place seeds in a single layer across a baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes or until seeds are golden. Sprinkle with the ground tea. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

Rosemary Roasted Seeds
Ingredients
2 cups of winter squash seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Instructions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Place all of the ingredients on a large sheet pan and gently stir until the seeds have a even coating of oil and herbs.  Place in oven and roast for about five minutes. Stir, then roast a few more minutes until the seeds are just starting to brown. Remove from the oven, cool, and enjoy!

Honey Roasted Seeds
(Not recommended to toast on skillet! Use roasting method for this recipe)
Ingredients
2 cups prepared winter squash seeds
3 tablespoons honey (warmed) or 3 tablespoons agave nectar (warmed)
2 tablespoons any unflavored oil (sunflower, safflower, corn, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
PREHEAT oven to 325ยบ.  In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients and stir well to coat the seeds. Warm honey ahead of time to ensure it mixes easily. Arrange the seeds in a single layer (as best you can, this is sticky stuff) on a large parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, stirring often, or until seeds are golden and the honey coating is slightly hardened.   Keep a careful eye on the seeds during the baking process. They burn quickly and easily. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Once cooled and dried, seeds will stick together like candy brittle. Break apart before transfering to an airtight container for storage.


NOW... WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ALL THOSE SPICED SEED SNACKS?

Winter Squash Seed Pesto
Try replacing pine nuts with flavor rich roasted squash seeds in your next batch of pesto.  Most people with nut allergies are NOT allergic to squash seeds, so it’s a fabulous replacement to get that nutty flavor without the allergic reaction.   And you’ve gotta admit, one cup of toasted squash seeds are much less expensive than the pouches of pine nuts at the grocers!

Add your seeds to...
Breads or other baked goods!  Prepare your already toasted or roasted seeds as you would a nut.  If you try the candied seed, honey roasted seed or cinnamon/sugar recipes, these are delicious in cookies, cakes, to top pies, or to add to chocolate bark.

Oatmeal or cereal!  Honey roasted winter squash seeds are a delicious addition to your morning breakfast.  They add an additional nutritional punch to your morning routine as well!

Salads!  Sweet or salty seeds can be a welcome change to your afternoon salad at work, and can add flavor, thus reducing your reliance on dressing!

Trail Mix!  Give your standard trail mix a surprising kick by adding a cup of roasted, seasoned winter squash seeds to the bag. 

Humus! Finely chop your roasted/toasted seeds and add to the food processor in your favorite humus recipe.  Treat this addition like a pine nut. 

Read More About It…
Webpage that will give you the full details for Squash Seed Nutritional Values.

For More information on Pumpkin Seeds, see the University of Alaska Cooperative Extension.  This is a printable worksheet that has lots of straightforward information including the various ways to preserve pumpkin seeds.

What to do with the meat of the squash once you’ve removed and snacked on those seeds?  Check out this website for the basics on how to cook winter squashes in a variety of ways, from Kentucky Cooperative Extension.