Just home from a long and chilly hike, I was craving a salty snack, but the cupboards were relatively bare, save for about a handful of raw, unsalted sunflower seeds.
Hmmm...it wouldn't take long to turn those pathetically wan, little seeds into a lovely burnished, salty snack for one.
I turned the oven dial to 350, spritzed them with a short blast of spray oil (just to get the salt to stick) and sprinkled them with a couple pinches of sea salt. 10 minutes later, my seeds were a gorgeous shade of golden brown, hot, salty, and far more satisfying and nutritious than, say, some mass-manufactured chips.
There is no immediately compelling reason to roast your own seeds and nuts. After all, they are sold roasted at the same price point for which they are sold raw. And, generally speaking, the nut roasteries are not pumping bizarre or dangerous additives into the nuts and seeds before they roast them, so there is no health benefit to the DIY approach.
So, why bother?
Well, friends, those brief 10 minutes in the kitchen allowed me to choose how burnished I wanted my roasted seeds. Some folks like their food little more than blushing in hue while others crave things teetering on the cusp of charred...(I practically went fisticuffs with a friend when I picked her up for a post-breakfast walk one day and saw her throwing away perfect toast. She claimed it was burnt. I thought it looked just right!) So, of course, roasting your own allows you to customize. You can also adjust your flavor to something beyond what they offer in the grocery store by roasting seeds and nuts with celery salt, garlic powder, cinnamon sugar, spicy cayenne, smoky paprika, and more.
10 minutes is hardly a daunting amount of time to commit to glean that level of customization in your snacks. For much the same reason, I am swearing off microwave popcorn---popping your own is so easy, and I recall (back in the days when microwaves were rarities) my mom used to do the most wonderful things to the popcorn she prepared on the stove-top, sprinkling the kernels with dried herbs, chili powder, and more. I am not even going to get into the horrible additives they put into those faux-butter flavors, but if you are inclined to do the research, the workers who have to breath that stuff in while packaging it have had some serious health repercussions.
I am digressing, though. Please consider taking 10 minutes some weekend to make a healthful, personalized snack that seems so fitting with the autumn season. If you carve pumpkins, you are going to have cups and cups of raw seeds on hand anyway...might as well make them delicious!