Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saving Heirloom Seeds

An enterprising young man in town has opened up his own mini farmer’s market in what was a defunct gas station and then used car lot.  He’s in the process of converting from harvest theme (Indian corn, gourds, pumpkins, etc.) to Christmas (trees & poinsettias)so he posted on Facebook a great sale on pie pumpkins and squash.  I love winter squash, which grew around my Gram’s home in Massachusetts.  She would mash it and top it with butter, brown sugar, salt & pepper.

If I hadn’t just been down to visit Baker Creek Seeds  I would have passed by the extremely large, salmon-colored squash, but I recognized them as Pink Banana Squash which a fellow at Baker Creek highly recommended for taste.  Now however, I’m not only going to roast the squash for Thanksgiving but try to save the seeds for next Spring. 


As luck would have it, I had a butternut squash (I told you I loved them) on hand so you can compare the sizes.   It was the largest one I could find at Walmart  and cost me $3.00.  The heirloom squash was on sale for $2.00 and will probably yield 3-4 times the amount of meat.

I sliced the squash into sections and hut each section in half to remove the seeds and put the meat into the roasting pan.  This was a big ol’ turkey roaster, not just a 9 X 13 pan.

The pulp didn’t seem nearly as “slimy” as some squash I’ve dealt with and the seeds separated fairly easily.

See the seed all by its lonesome near the top of the mat.  I started looking over each one to cull any that had been nicked by the knife or seemed less than perfect.  Really, there were soooo many seeds in this giant that I only saved half for seed and roasted the rest for snacking.  Of course if you really want to start saving seeds you should cull them from more than one plant – you best specimens to ensure strong future crops.  I’m just using what I have available to me – which was the best looking squash at the stand.


I then had to wash all the little bits of pulp off the seeds by rubbing them between my fingers under water.  I have several Silpat mats I use for baking that I spread the seeds over for drying. 

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