Eating the placenta

Sweet Tatorman's picture

This post is likely not what you expected when you clicked on the topic. I am using placenta in the botany sense, not the placental mammal sense.

In an edible squash the placenta is the mass of tissue in which the seeds are embedded. In the preparation of Summer squash the placenta is generally eaten but in the case of Winter squash is typically scooped out and discarded along with the seeds. Squash seeds are extremely nutritious but I find that I am too lazy to bother with cleaning them out of the placenta and using.

As an experiment I decided to retain and cook separately the placenta and seeds from a semi-mature Winter squash to see what it would be like. Result was fully satisfactory to my taste but for those who have issues with slippery mouthfeel foods I suggest that you move along. The squash I used is the species Curcubita argyrosperma, variety unknown but similar to a Green Striped Cushaw.

Using the placenta and seeds this way garners the nutritional benefits of the seeds without the hassle of separating them out. Likely the immature seeds are not as nutrient rich as fully mature seeds but still likely much more so that the squash flesh. Now that I have had two nights of hard freezes I will be gathering this variety of squash in a wide range of maturities and likely will experiment with this a bit more.

Blueberry's picture

Like to take young winter squash cut up place in a mix of water, vinegar and salt. Dip in self rising flour then fry. Slice of ham and call it supper.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Are the seed coats not woody? How have you cooked them for the seed coats to be edible, not woody? Is it because the squash is not yet mature?

Did you chop up the, eh, slurry before cooking?

We usually separate the seeds by rubbing them over an aluminum colander under running water so that the stringy stuff goes through the holes.

Two days ago I did Delicata squash seeds that way and it was pleasant to note that Delicata doesn't stick to the hands with some sort of slug-like mucopolypeptide the way butternut and pumpkin do. That stuff is hard to wash off. (Hmm, maybe I could try salt to remove it from the hands.) Delicata seems to have shorter and fewer "placenta" fibers, so the colander works well..

Normally I would then oven roast the seeds, but my oven is broken so I just pan roasted a few in a dry iron frying pan. That tenderized the woody seed coats enough that they are fairly edible, seedcoat and all.

Sweet Tatorman's picture

No chopping. I just cooked the whole mass in the microwave. Seeds not woody likely due to the state of immaturity. I do eventually plan to do the same with a more mature squash where the seed coats would be expected to be woody to see if cooking softens them up enough to be acceptable.