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How to Cook Acorn Squash

How to Cook Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is a winter squash which is commonly used in many baked recipes. This article tells you about how to cook this delicious fruit in a simple way.
Kanika Khara
Acorn squash is a winter squash having typical longitudinal ridges and sugary, yellow orange flesh. Its rind or shell is very hard and thick. It belongs to the genusCucurbitaand speciesCucurbita pepo, to which all summer squashes (including zucchini and yellow crookneck squash) also belong. The most common variety is dark green in color, however, nowadays many latest varieties of this fruit have come up like golden acorn, known for its glowing yellow-white color. It can also be variegated (multicolored) and normally grows well in warm moist soil.

It is characterized as a winter squash not only because the season in which it grows, but also due to the way it grows. Once harvested, it basically matures on the vine and does not matures or ripens further. Its peak season is from November to December. It is usually baked, but can also be microwaved, sautéed, and steamed. Unlike other winter squash, this fruit is very high in beta-carotene, but is also a good source of dietary fiber and potassium. It also contains minimal amounts of vitamins B and C, magnesium, and manganese.

Cooking Acorn Squash

Here is a classic recipe that will provide step by step instructions for cooking this fruit.

  • Acorn Squash, 1
  • Maple Syrup, 2 tsp.
  • Brown Sugar, 2 tbsp.
  • Butter, 1 tbsp.
  • Dash of salt

With the help of a strong chef's knife and a rubber mallet, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Remove or scoop out the seed and the stringy flesh, in the center of each half, using a big spoon. Mark the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife and keep each half in a baking pan with the cut side up. Put about ¼ inch of water at the bottom of the baking pan so that the skin doesn't get burnt and the fruit doesn't dry out. Coat the inside of each half acorn with ½ tbsp. of butter and add a dash of salt, if you are putting unsalted butter. Now put 1 tbsp. of brown sugar in the cavity of each half and dribble 1 tsp. of maple syrup on it. Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F for 60 - 80 minutes or until the flesh is very soft and the tops are golden brown in color. It may take more time depending upon its size, however, once cooked, remove from oven and allow it to cool a little. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce over the exposed areas of the fruit and serve.

For cooking it in a microwave, cut it lengthwise as explained above and keep the halves in a microwave safe container. Cover them and cook for about 12 - 15 minutes at a high temperature without any water. Cooking time may vary as per the size of the fruit.

While selecting an acorn squash, ensure that it is heavy and has a hard, deep colored rind, free of blemishes or moldy spots. Its hard skin protects the flesh and allows it to be stored longer than the summer ones. Hence, it does not require refrigeration and can be kept in a cool, dark place for a month or so. Before cooking, usually the seeds are removed, which are also a good source of iron, riboflavin, vitamins A, and vitamin C. Hence, they can be eaten roasted or incorporated in other recipes, just like pumpkin seeds.