Acorn Squash (aka Pepper Squash) is a winter squash with dark green skin, but it’s not unusual to see some cultivars whose skin is coloured with blotches of green and orange.
It is both a variety of squash in its own right, and a collective term for a category of closely-related squashes.
They are named acorn because their shape is reminiscent of that of an acorn.
The rinds are quite hard. The upside of this is that the rind holds together well for baking and transferring to a plate. The downside is that it requires a firm arm to cut it in half when you are preparing it.
The taste of acorn squash is often described as “mildly buttery.” It is slightly sweet, but even though the name “acorn” leads some people to detect a slight “nutty” taste, most people don’t detect that. (In any event, acorns are bitter tasting.)
Traditional: Halve and seed the acorn squash. Place cut side up in an oven proof dish or on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with brown sugar (you may also sprinkle with ground cinnamon and/or cloves to taste.) Dot with butter (optional as well.) Cover with tin foil, and bake until soft, about 45 minutes.
Low fat: Instead of dotting with butter, sprinkle with orange juice.
In Risotto: Cube it, fry in olive oil with a little garlic until tender, then stir into a risotto which is just about ready.
Any other squash including pumpkin.
“Acorn squash are best kept at 10 C with 60% relative humidity. They will store for 5 to 8 weeks. It is important to maintain greenness on acorn squash as yellowing indicates that the flesh is becoming stringy.” Munro, Derek. B. and Earnest Small. Vegetables of Canada. Ottawa: National Research Press. 1997. Page 183.
Acorn squash varieties were grown by Native Americans. The variety now known as Table Queen was introduced commercially in 1913:
“Table Queen, a heart-shaped squash, was first introduced by the Iowa Seed company in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1913.” Fertig, Juila. Heartland: The Cookbook. Kansas City, Missouri: Andrews McMeel Publishing. 2011. Page 167.
Table Queen is also known as ‘Des Moines’ or ‘Danish’ squash. Seedsavers Catalog. Squash, Table Queen. Accessed March 2016 at http://www.seedsavers.org/table-queen-organic-squash
Literature & Lore
The name “acorn squash” comes from its resemblance to a large — very large — acorn, the size that your neighbourhood squirrels might dream of during long winter nights.
Acorn squash varieties
|↑1||Munro, Derek. B. and Earnest Small. Vegetables of Canada. Ottawa: National Research Press. 1997. Page 183.|
|↑2||Fertig, Juila. Heartland: The Cookbook. Kansas City, Missouri: Andrews McMeel Publishing. 2011. Page 167.|
|↑3||Seedsavers Catalog. Squash, Table Queen. Accessed March 2016 at http://www.seedsavers.org/table-queen-organic-squash|