We eat a lot of winter squash in this house, which means we end up with a lot of seeds. We could toss them, but I prefer to use all parts of the plant, so instead I stuck the seeds from two butternut squashes in a mason jar in the refrigerator for a few days til we had a chance to do this activity.
Note: seeds refrigerated for more than a week in the seed goop may spoil. Don’t use those!
Pushing the seeds out of the seed goop (technical term) gave us lots of chances to use words like “stringy, sticky, slick, hard, soft” while exercising our close observation skills (to find the seeds) and fine motor skills (to remove the seeds).
I modeled playing with the seeds and describing them: “wow, I can press on one orange seed and it will stick to my finger! Do you think they’d stick to your whole hand?” Belle mimicked both words (“stick-ee hand!”) and action (a heavy pat that sent some seeds flying). She also did some taste testing but wasn’t terribly fond of the raw seeds.
Belle followed two-part directions and poured the seeds onto a lined cookie sheet and tried for a single layer.
Then she enthusiastically salted the seeds, yelling “Shake! Salt! Shake! Salt!” (Actually, because she’s 2 and simplifies consonant clusters and word-initial /s/, it was more like “dake! dal!” with me affirming and repeating it with the full pronunciation, so she’d hear it modeled correctly…but you get it!)
Skills worked on:
- following directions
- sorting (seed from pulp)
- expressive language
- sensory play/familiarization (touch)
- close observation
- food prep!
- Cookie sheet
- Parchment or foil (for ease of clean up)
Recipe (30 min prep, 30 min bake, yield 3/4 c):
- 1-2 c. winter squash pulp, scooped from: delicata squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, pumpkin, acorn squash, or similar
- Salt (about 1 tbsp, kosher salt preferred)
- Other spices (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Remove seeds from pulp, rinse, and spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment
- Salt liberally to assist in drying the seeds. Use other spice combinations as desired.
- Bake for 30 min or until dry, stirring every ten minutes. Seeds may be delicious and slightly chewy if taken out early but should be eaten quickly or they’ll spoil.
- Use as a stand-alone snack, crunchy salad topping, or stir-in for overnight oats (add in the morning). Eat within 1 week.
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