Miniature pumpkins harbor puffable seeds.What did you do with the innards of last week's jack-o-lantern? Most households pitched the slippery, seed-bearing strings as they carved their pumpkin. But if Brent Loy has his way, Halloween squashes may attract more culinary attention as the source of a homegrown home·grown
1. Raised or grown at home.
2. Originating in or characteristic of a locality: "Rock is homegrown music in the United States, evolved from blues and country and Tin Pan Alley" , popcorn-like snack food.
A plant breeder at the University of New Hempshire in Durham, Loy has focused his efforts over the past 11 years on developing a fruit that growers will prize for its seeds. Though pumpkin seeds are tasty, Loy says, getting to them requires cutting or bitting off the tough protective hull that encases them. Unless, that is, your pumpkin eliminates the hull for you. And Loy's hybrids do.
An Austrian researcher discovered the gene coding for hull-less pumpkin seeds in 1933. Since then, Loy says, Eastern European growers have bred squashes with such seeds as alternatives to rapeseed rapeseed
the seed of Target rape grown specifically for the seed and its oil.
as oil cake or meal after rapeseed oil is removed this is a high-protein feed supplement used in cattle. (canola canola
see brassicanapus. ) and olives, two sources of cooking oil rich in monounsaturated fat monounsaturated fat A saturated fatty acid–ie, an alkyl chain fatty acid with one ethylenic–double bond between the carbons in the fatty acid chain. See Fatty acid, Saturated fatty acid; Cf Polyunsaturated fatty acid, Unsaturated fatty acid. .
But the small seeds or low yields of these cultivars won few converts in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . So Loy decided to beef up the seeds by trimming down the pumpkin. His goal: peanut-size seeds that, as a high-protein snack, might gain a toehold in the lucrative munchies munchies Substance abuse A popular term for the craving for salt-rich and/or high-carbohydrate 'junk food,' associated with use of marijuna, amphetamines, and other recreational drugs. See Junk food. market.
One fruit of those labors -- a hybrid he calls Snackjack -- is currently being grown for commercial introduction, perhaps in 1995. His hybrid's seeds "are up around 40 percent protein," Loy says. Though typically about 45 percent fat by weight, the hull-less seeds are almost free of saturated fat saturated fat, any solid fat that is an ester of glycerol and a saturated fatty acid. The molecules of a saturated fat have only single bonds between carbon atoms; if double bonds are present in the fatty acid portion of the molecule, the fat is said to be and contain a 1:3 ratio of mono- to polyunsaturates.
"I've developed the plant to produce cute ornamental pumpkins," Loy says. At about 1.5 pounds, the thin-skinned fruit measures only about 5 inches in diameter, yet produces 300 to 400 seeds. In field trials it yielded about 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of seed per acre.
What do you do with those seeds? Eat them dry and salted, he suggested. Better yet, toast them in the microwave oven, where Loy promises they'll puff up like popcorn.