Butternut squash seeds are very nutritious and have a distinct, slightly sweet flavor that is similar to some other types of seeds. One of the most popular uses for butternut squash seeds is to roast or toast them to make a snack that can be flavored with salt, cayenne pepper or other ingredients. The roasted seeds can be added to salads, sprinkled over soups, or included in any dish that could benefit from the texture and flavor of the seeds. Lightly toasted, unflavored butternut squash seeds can be mixed with honey and other ingredients to make a sweet butternut squash seed brittle candy. If appropriate, the seeds can be dried and saved so they can be planted in the spring, although the seeds might not germinate.
When removed from the squash, the seeds initially are connected by a moist, slippery membrane that needs to be removed. Whatever the eventual use might be, butternut squash seeds first need to be cleaned in nearly every instance. This can be done by placing the seeds and the membrane in a bowl filled with warm to hot water and allowing them to soak for several hours. Some of the pulp will drop to the bottom of the bowl, while what is still attached to the seeds can be removed by gently rubbing the seeds until they are clean. The cleaned seeds can be placed on a plate or towel and left to dry.
A very easy and common use for butternut squash seeds is to roast them to make a snack. The cleaned seeds can be spread on a baking sheet, drizzled with some oil and sprinkled with salt. The sheet is placed in a hot oven and the seeds are allowed to cook until they become dry and crisp, after which they can be eaten like many other roasted seeds. Ingredients such as cayenne pepper, wasabi powder, cumin and cinnamon can be sprinkled over the seeds to give them a different taste.
Similar to roasting in some ways, a stronger flavor can be achieved by toasting butternut squash seeds in a heavy-bottomed skillet. They sometimes are first brined in a salt, sugar and water solution until the seeds plump up a little. The seeds can be placed in the hot pan and cooked until they start to crackle and pop. If cooked long enough the resulting toasted seeds can have a crisp texture and a smoky flavor.
If butternut squash seeds are roasted lightly and no salt or other flavorings are added, then they can be made into a candy brittle. This involves taking the roasted seeds and mixing them with honey, water, sugar and possibly some corn syrup. The mixture is boiled until it is as thick as desired and then poured onto a baking sheet and left to cool, after which it will form into a hard, sweet candy with a slightly earthy taste.