Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Smoking seeds!

 In the Kitchen

I love seeds!  I love planting seeds, saving seeds and eating seeds!  Seeds are so healthy.  An egg is similar to a seed.  It has everything in it to grow a new organism!  Because of this, they are extremely nutritious (both seeds and eggs!).  Seeds have protein, fiber, healthy fats, and important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  When consumed as part of a healthy diet, seeds can help reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure, boost digestive health, and fight free radial formation.  Here is a great article about seeds and how they are different from nuts, grains and beans.

I really enjoy putting both sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds on my salads.  Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, thiamine and manganese. Pumpkin seeds are high in healthy fats and protein and rich in manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.  

A couple years ago I learned that you could grow hulless pumpkin seeds inside a pumpkin.  They do not have the harder, tan seed coat.  They are the green seeds.  I see them for sale in the grocery store as pepitos.  Well, this year I had a bumper crop of the pepito pumpkins!  Here is a pic of our barn cat, Apple Jack, sitting on the deck with the pumpkins in the background.  I think I had about 40 of them!
They are small pumpkins and the flesh is not really that good for eating.  I have learned how to scoop the seeds out, wash them and then put them into the dehydrator to dry them down for storage.  This year, I decided to try smoking some!  I also decided to try smoking some sunflower seeds.  This was actually a request from Joshua.  One day he asked if he could eat the sunflower seeds so I figured...why not?  This is what we did to smoke the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.  

First, I cut the pumpkins in half and scooped out the green seeds.  
I roasted the flesh part of the pumpkins and we fed that to the chickens and ducks!  Joshua enjoys feeding the ducks each afternoon when he gets home from school.  Here is a video of him feeding pumpkin and sunflower seeds to the ducks...
Here is a pic of the sunflower heads that we harvested seeds from...  
We were able to get gray colored seeds, some black seeds and striped seeds.
The next step is to boil the seeds in salt water.  I put 8 cups water in a pot and then added 1/4 cup salt. and boiled the seeds for 15 minutes.  When I boiled the sunflower seeds, they all turned black...but then when they dried back out, the color dissipated and you could see the different kinds again.
Then, I strained off the salt water and put them on metal trays.  I put them into the smoker at 230 degrees F.  I used hickory smoke for 2 hours and then continued to bake them in the smoker for a couple more hours.  I wanted to make sure they were nice and dry.  I also stirred the seeds every 30 minutes.  Let me reiterate, for long time storage, the seeds have to be bone dry or they will mold.
Finally, once they were dry, I gathered them up and put in a jar!  
They both taste amazing and I am happy that I decided to try something new with the pumpkin seeds.  This will definitely spice up my salads this winter!  Or they will be great just as a healthy snack!  The seeds in this jar are from about 5 pumpkins so I am going to have about 8 times that amount when I am done!  I am not going to do anymore of the sunflower seeds...I think these will keep us busy for a while!

One last note:  you can totally do this with the seeds you get out of your Jack-o'-lantern pumpkin!  Or seeds from you butternut squash!  Or any winter squash!  You know, the seeds with the shells!  They will be crunchier but we always roast some pumpkin seeds in the oven each year.  I really liked boiling in salt water because I can never get the salt to stick well after they have been roasted so this is a great hack to get nice salty seeds.  If you don't have a smoker, you can add some liquid smoke to the seeds before you roast them in the oven!  I usually put some butter/olive oil on the seeds before I roast them in the oven so you just add about a tablespoon of liquid smoke to the oil and mix it all together well and then roast in the oven.  Yum!!!

Have an eggcellent day!

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