Why Acorn Squash Should Be on Your Fall Menu

published Nov 10, 2014
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(Image credit: Razmarinka)

Acorn squash may be small (it typically weighs between one and two pounds), but it is a mighty vegetable that can play side dish or hearty main course. Here’s a guide to acorn squash, with a few tips for putting this small, delicious vegetable on your plate this week.

Even if you have yet to try acorn squash, you’ve likely spotted it at the farmers market or grocery store. A member of the winter squash family, acorn squash is distinguished by its vertical ridges and acorn shape. The most common variety has sweet, orange-yellow flesh with thick, dark green skin with a small patch of orange color, found on the side or top of the vegetable. There are other varieties with golden and variegated skin.

How to Pick Acorn Squash

Choose acorn squashes that have a firm exterior, and are free from soft spots and blemishes. They should feel heavy for their size.

Like other winter squash, acorn squash keep well for quite a while in the colder fall and winter months. Store them in a cool, dry place, and they will keep for at least one month.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

How to Prepare Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is most commonly baked or roasted, though it can also be steamed, sautéed or cooked in the microwave. And, because of its bowl-like center, which you’ll see when it’s halved, acorn squash is ideal for stuffing. Once cooked the sunny-colored flesh is soft with a sweet, nutty flavor.

Despite its small size, you’ll need some strength and a sharp knife to cut this squash in half. But because it’s small and easier to handle than a larger squash, it’s a good way to practice your squash cutting skills.

It’s necessary to scoop out the seeds before cooking, but don’t toss them — roast them, for a crispy snack.

Try These Acorn Squash Recipes!

What’s your favorite way to prepare acorn squash?