Seed Saving: How to Save Squash Seeds
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If you don’t have a dehydrator you can dry seeds in a strainer. I have dried large amounts on a screen in front of a fan. You can’t usually get seeds dry enough to seal into airtight containers or freeze that way, however, unless you have very low relative humidity, such as in a desert environment. (You can store such seeds in paper envelopes. But for long-term storage, you need drier seeds.) However, you may be able to finish off seeds in front of a wood stove or space heater if you want optimal dryness and don’t have a dehydrator. (Some people dry seeds with silica gel. It’s a huge pain, though, and not appropriate for larger amounts of seeds.)
The second way to process seeds is more suitable when we have lots of fruits of one lot we are processing at once. We dump the pulp into a bucket or container of water, work the seeds free of pulp, and then leave the mess to ferment a little. The seeds start off floating along with the pulp. After the seeds sink, drain off the rest of the mess, wash the seeds several times, and get them into the dehydrator right away to dry as already described. It generally takes one to three days for the seeds to sink. You have to watch them and catch them promptly.
Fermentation processing does a better job of eliminating diseases and destroying germination inhibitors than does merely hand-washing the seed. Hand-washed seed often doesn’t germinate well in indoor germination tests, even though it germinates very vigorously outdoors.
More The Resilient Gardener Squash and Pumpkin Information:
Curing Squash for Better Flavor
Squash Varieties for Winter, Fall and Summer
Drying Squash: Using the Sun or an Electric Dehydrator
Growing Squash and Preparing Your Harvest
Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe
This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times, published by Chelsea Green Publishing, 2010. Buy this book from our store: The Resilient Gardener.
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