seeds

So long olive oil; there’s a brand new oil in town and it comes from a favorite winter veggie, squash.

Squash seeds are a favorite Halloween treat; with just a little oil, salt and a few minutes in the oven, you have a hearty, tasty snack. Well, now, those seeds are being turned into deep amber-colored, aromatic nutty oil with a hint of caramelized squash. Bonus: It has 40 percent the daily recommended amount of vitamin E in every tablespoon.

A Geneva, NY brand, Stony Brook Whole Hearted Foods is getting a lot of attention for their oil which is made from the seeds of acorn, delicata, butternut and buttercup squash (and soon, pumpkin). The locally-grown seeds are gently roasted and expeller-pressed at low temperatures to preserve depth of flavor and healthful properties. Nothing is added to the bottle but pure, perfect roasted squash seed oil made in small batches and bottled by hand at their Finger Lakes shop.

Chefs are trying out the oil on pastas and veggies as well as in vinaigrettes and soups. While it’s a little too delicate for heavy frying, it does have a high smoking point of 425 degrees so you can use it to finish off stir fry or to steam in a little flavor to veggies. Whole Hearted Foods recommends using their oil for:

  • Use as a dipping oil for multigrain breads
  • Drizzle over sliced papaya or avocado and sprinkle with sea salt
  • Substitute for butter for corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, bread stuffings and roasted root vegetables
  • Add to sautéed green beans, brussel sprouts or wilted spinach
  • Add to cream of cauliflower or squash soup
  • Drizzle over grilled sea scallops and fresh greens
  • Add to quick breads or muffins for a nutty flavor
  • Pour over vanilla ice cream and top with roasted pistachios

In true eco fashion, the whole seed is used. Once the seeds are roasted, crushed and the oil extracted, the leftover shell hulls are turned into seed cake, a livestock feed that is 50 percent higher in protein than other feeds. The Piggery in Ithaca, NY uses the feed on her pigs and says it’s a great way to introduce protein during the winter months.

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Image by Semarr