When purchasing organic vegetables from the grocery store, try saving seed from your favorite winter squash varieties for next year’s harvest.
Fall is the time of year when the winter squash varieties come into their own. Delicata, Butternut, Hubbard, Acorn, and Spaghetti squash all make a terrific addition to your nightly soup and winter storage pantry.
Fewer people grow winter squash than summer squash, which is a shame because they are rich in vitamins and have a fuller taste than summer squash. For those that like to produce their own food, they also keep a long time in storage. Once you open them up for cooking, take the time to save seeds for the next planting. You’ll have fresh squash return every year.
How to save winter squash seed
Halve the fruit and remove the seed pulp. Choose a fully ripe specimen that has a thick skin.
Squeeze the pulp, including the seeds, into a glass jar or plastic container. I used a canning jar for my seeds.
Add a little water and cap tightly, shake well, allowing the pulp to break up.
Let the mixture ferment several days at room temperature, shaking occasionally. Don’t forget to loosen the cap to allow air to escape during the fermenting process and tighten it again before shaking (experience speaking!). Just to warn you, this mixture will smell very bad.
The sound, viable seeds will settle out to the bottom of the jar and the nonviable seeds will float.
After 4 days, spoon out the pulp and seeds that are floating on the top (these are the non-viable seeds) and pour the remaining seeds into a small strainer and rinse well with cool water.
Spread these good, viable seeds in a single layer on a paper towel to dry. Store your dry winter squash seed in a paper envelope in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant in late spring.
This technique works well for saving any seed that is surrounded by a fleshy pulp – melons, pumpkins, cucumber, tomato, and squash.
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