Acorn Squash 101 | Clean & Delcious
How to Buy Acorn Squash
You've probably seen festive acorn squash in the grocery stores and farmers markets during the winter. If you've always seen these distinctive squash and wondered how to choose one, there are simple guidelines you can follow. Once you've selected a ripe and flavorful acorn squash, store it properly until you're ready to prepare it. There are a variety of ways to cook the squash, so you're sure to find a method that you enjoy.
Choosing an Acorn Squash
Look for a dark green squash.Although you may see acorn squash that are yellow, orange, or shades of green, you should pick one that's dark green. This means it's ripe and ready to eat. There may still be a yellow spot on the squash which is fine. This is just where the squash rested on the ground as it grew.
- Avoid bright orange acorn squash since these are too ripe. When cooked, they'll be dry and string.
Check the skin of the squash.Touch the acorn squash and choose one that feels firm. There shouldn't be any soft or mushy spots which could mean that the squash is moldy inside. The squash's skin should be dull, not shiny. Shiny skinned squash aren't as sweet as the dull skinned squash.
- Try to pick an acorn squash that's smooth instead of rough or bumpy.
Weigh the squash.Place the acorn squash on a scale to weigh it. The squash should weigh between 1 and 3 pounds (0.45 to 1.4 kg). A good weight means that the squash won't be overly dry inside.
- Most acorn squash are similar in size, so choose a squash according to your needs. For example, if you'll be cooking it for several people, choose a squash that weighs closer to 3 pounds.
Look at the flesh, if buying a cut squash.If you'll be buying an acorn squash that has been cut in half, choose one that has bright yellow-orange flesh. If you press the flesh, it should be firm to the touch.
- Avoid acorn squash that is squishy inside or is pale colored. These acorn squash aren't ripe and won't be very flavorful.
Storing an Acorn Squash
Arrange the squash for storage.If you'll be storing more than one acorn squash for a prolonged period of time (over 2 weeks), place your squash in a single level. This will allow air to flow around the squash.Avoid stacking or packing acorn squash in a container since air won't be able to circulate. This can cause the squash to rot.
- Avoid storing the acorn squash directly on the floor of a cellar, basement or pantry. The floor holds some moisture which can introduce mold and rot to your squash.
Keep the squash in a cool dry place.If you'll be storing the acorn squash for several weeks or months, place it in a cool, dry spot (around 50 to 55 degrees F). You might want to store it in a garage or basement pantry. You can store the acorn squash for up to 3 months.
- The humidity of the space should be between 50 and 70 percent.
Refrigerate the squash for short term storage.If you won't be using your acorn squash right after buying it, consider refrigerating it. You can place a whole ripe acorn squash in a loosely sealed bag in the refrigerator for one to two weeks.
- Acorn squash will start to lose its peak flavor and nutritional benefits the longer you refrigerate it, so try to use it within the first five days of refrigerating it.
Preparing an Acorn Squash
Roast the acorn squash.For a slightly caramelized flavor, roast the squash in a 375 degree F (190 C) oven. To do so, cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle and rub olive oil over both halves of the squash's flesh and place them on a roasting sheet. Sprinkle them with seasoning (like salt and pepper). Bake the squash for up to an hour (or until it's tender).
- You can toss the acorn squash seeds or roast them in the oven separately.
Make an acorn squash soup.Acorn squash makes a great base for a number of soups. All you need to do is roast an acorn squash and scoop the roasted flesh into a large soup pot. Add vegetables and seasonings of your choice along with stock or broth. Once all the ingredients are tender, blend them to create a creamy, healthy soup. Some great soup flavors include:
- Curried acorn squash soup
- Spicy acorn squash soup
- Pumpkin-acorn squash soup
- Ginger acorn squash soup
Bake an acorn squash pie.If you're looking to swap out the traditional pumpkin pie at family gatherings this fall, try an acorn squash pie which has similar flavors. You'll combine steamed acorn squash with honey, fall spices, and a little milk before pouring it into a pie crust and baking it.
- This pie can be made up to two days in advance and refrigerated until you're ready to serve it. It goes well with whipped cream.
Saute acorn squash.Sauteed acorn squash makes a great side for a flavorful meal. To saute, cut an unpeeled acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Carefully slice the squash into 8 slivers and add them to a preheated pan that contains a little butter and oil. Cook the squash in a single layer over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.
- You can turn the squash every few minutes to make sure they brown on both sides.
- You can discard the acorn seeds that you scoop out.
QuestionI find it very difficult to cut an acorn squash because it is so hard. I guess I need a sharper or larger knife. I sometimes ask the vegetable man at the store to cut it for me. Any suggestions?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMicrowave it for a few minutes first, let it cool, and then it should be easier to cut.Thanks!
Video: How to Bake Acorn Squash
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