Acorn squash (Cucurbita pepo) is a winter squash with distinctive longitudinal ridges and sweet, yellow-orange flesh. Although considered a "winter" squash, acorn squash belongs to the same species as all "summer" squashes (including zucchini and yellow crookneck squash). The most common variety is dark green in color. However, newer varieties have arisen including Golden Acorn, for its glowing yellow color, and some that are white. They can also be variegated (multi-colored). As the name suggests, its shape resembles that of an acorn. It is also good for winter storage, keeping several weeks in a dry location such as a cellar.
Acorn squash are easily grown. Seeds are started after all danger of frost is past and the soil is warm or within 3-4 weeks before the predicted last frost date in the area. Seeds directly sown are placed one inch deep, 5-6 to a hill; hills are 6 feet in all direction from other hills. Roughly 85 days after germinating, acorn squash are ready to be harvested. Acorn squash should not be cured, as doing so will degrade the quality.
Acorn squash is most commonly baked, but can also be microwaved, sauteed, and steamed. It is often baked cut into halves, with the seed cavity filled with some combination of fruits, nuts, or meats. This squash is not as rich in beta-carotene as other winter squashes, but is a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, as well as smaller amounts of vitamins C and B, magnesium, and manganese.
- The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.