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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash:

About:

Acorn squash (Cucurbita pepo var. turbinata) also called pepper squash or Des Moines squash is a winter squash with distinctive longitudinal ridges and sweet yellow-orange flesh.  Although considered to be a winter squash, it is the same species as all summer squash (including zucchini and yellow crookneck squash.  Acorn squash is often mistaken as a gourd.  
Most commonly dark green in color with a single splotch of orange on the side or the top.  Acorn squash can also be variegated (multicolored).  Its shape resembles an acorn giving it its name.  Typically the acorn squash weighs one to two pounds and is 4 to 7 inches long.  Acorn squash is good and hardy to save throughout the winter, keeping several months in a cool dry place, such as a cold cellar.  


History:

Indigenous to North and Central America, the acorn squash was introduced to early Europeans by Native Americans.

Nutrition:

Acorn squash is not as rich in beta-carotene as the other winter squashes, but is a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, as well as smaller amounts of vitamin C and B, magnesium, and manganese.  

Uses:

Acorn squash is most commonly baked, but can be microwaved, sauteed or steamed.  It may be stuffed with rice, meat, or a vegetable mixture.  The seeds of the squash can be eaten usually after being toasted.  The skin is also edible.

Season:

Available year round, the peak season is September through March. 

Selecting and Storing:

Select squash that is solid and heavy with dark green skin and some orange.  Avoid  squash with soft spots.  Store acorn squash in a cool dark place (like your pantry).


So ..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.


Simple but Good:


Roasted Parmesan Acorn Squash

cooking spray
1 acorn squash 
2 TBS olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black ground pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. with a rack in the middle.  Coat a rimmed sheet pan with cooking spray.  
Trim ends of squash, and cut in half from stem to opposite end.  Scoop out seeds and pulp, and slice into 3/4 inch half moons.  Place half moons on the pan and drizzle with oil and rub to coat.   Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan.  Turn the squash over and repeat.  
Roast without turning until the squash is golden brown and tender (350to 40 minutes).

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