Thursday, October 20, 2011

Roasted Acorn Squash Seed Harvest Snack Mix - Let the Squash Wars Begin!

Fall is a beautiful time of change and color. It's also time for the battle drums of the squash wars to begin beating around our house.

You see, I'm married to a squash hater. Apparently, he had some very terrible squash experience as a child, that turned him against the entire gourd family for life. Apart from pumpkin pie and zucchini bread, he'll have nothing to do with any of them.

Now, I'm not exactly a squash enthusiast myself, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. My thinking is anything that can be turned into something as yummy as zucchini bread, and grows so abundantly across the country, has some good qualities worth looking into.

So, every year I place "find a new squash dish" onto our fall to-do list, and every year my dear husband announces ahead of time, he will not like it, eat it, or have anything to do with it. Naturally, where their father leads, the children follow.

In fairness, I should mention, at that at this same time of year there is another war - the elk and venison war - raging through our home, as well. It's been twenty fall defeats for the Man of the House on that front, with the possible exception of the grain fed, eastern Montana venison he brought home last year, but that's another story. Today we're talking squash, and more specifically, acorn squash, because that was the first of the winter squash to go on a really super low price sale at our local grocery store. And, it just so happens I've found a couple of acorn squash recipes to be hopeful about.

As a bonus, while I was searching for really delicious, squash-haters-must-try recipes, I also came across a few mentions of roasting squash seeds.

I can't tell you how happy this makes me, because my normal fall routine is to search through bin after bin of sugar pumpkins, looking for the smallest and least ripe in the bunch in order to obtain pumpkin seeds tender enough to be really good for roasting, ones that will provide that delicious, nutty/pumpkin flavor, but without the woody, stick in your teeth, hulls of say a jack-o'-lantern pumpkin's seeds.

Apparently, all I had to do was cut open an acorn squash. The seeds are perfect for roasting.

Their flavor is slightly different than pumpkin seeds, but still good, and the texture is much less woody. Once you've separated them from the squash, rinsed off the goo, and patted them dry, spread them out on a greased cookie sheet (I sprayed mine with Baker's Pam), and sprinkle them generously with salt and cinnamon.

Bake them for 30 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and then toss them, hot out of the oven, in a baggie with 1 teaspoon of sugar.

They are a delicious snack warm, right out the bag, or cooled and mixed with dried cranberries, and butterscotch chips. In fact, the Man of the House got ahold of the bowl last night, and devoured it all, with some help from me, before the children even got a taste. Don't worry, the acorn squash are still on sale here, so the children will get their share yet.

In the meantime, here's a little extra for my blogger buddies out there. Did you know that your fridge can serve as a makeshift light box on these short autumn days, when there's never enough light to get a good photo after about three in the afternoon? Clearly my fridge was too full last night to make it really useful...

...but crop in the photos, and take a look at the difference. The fridge photo on the left looks so much more like it was taken in natural light.

Of course, sometimes a golden hue isn't a bad thing. I kind of like picture of pureed squash under the incandescents.

For those of you who haven't tried acorn squash I have to say, the puree above was as rich, and buttery, and delicious as it looks, just plain from oven to blender to spoon. In fact, I was so impressed with the taste, and feeling confident from the harvest mix reception, that I stuck a spoonful out for the Man of the House to sample.

He didn't spit it in my face, but let's just say I still have my work cut out for me.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Christy Killoran said...

Yum - I have to try that!!

It's rainy here so my pictures are extra gloomy in today's post - love the fridge light idea!

I'm curious about the elk and venison story - oh, and I have never had either.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I do not like them Sam I Am!

Phyllis said...

I never thought of roasting squash seeds! We always just use a bit of salt for our pumpkin seeds. I have never added cinnamon and sugar. Looks like a great fall snack mix. I love squash, but everyone else here tolerates it at best.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

The squash war story made me laugh. I really have to get better in trying veggies. I eat them all, my family - not so much!

Debbie said...

Your home sounds like my home, divided between the likes and dislikes. I am with you on the squash issue, there has to be something good we can always create. I am also with you on the elk and venison..."I do not like them Sam I Am!" This snack mix looks very yummy. Thank you for the tip about the fridge lighting.

Melissa said...

I make mashed potatoes when we have squash. My husband and daughter mix the two together and add some butter. Very good that way!

I just found your blog a couple of weeks ago and am enjoying it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - I'm with your husband on this one; I grew up in a house where we were served (shuuder) spaghetti squash daily, every fall, for about 2 months. To this day I won't touch it! (But maybe I'll do the seeds, and feed the rest to my family.) :)


Brimful Curiosities said...

Acorn squash is my preferred choice. Love squash particularly with a large pat of butter.

Mary said...

Have you ever tried 3 sisters soup?
It's made from butternut squash, green beans and corn. Those are the 3 sisters of Native American farming (at least here in western NY).

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Mary - That's very cool - we learned about the three sisters during a field trip to the living history museum connected with the Museum of the Rockies - a soup would be a nice connection to what we learned there!

Ticia said...

Jeff and I are opposite on many foods as well. Which leads to some interesting meals sometimes, but no long standing attempts to train the other.