As you have probably already noticed, I try to include as many vegetables as I possibly can in my daily cooking as to keep my family healthy and energized.
I have therefore explored the realm of vegetables to the greatest detail and learned how to incorporate most nutritious and beneficial veggies in my dishes.
I was thus quite surprised when I visited my aunt in the country last fall, and she presented me with a vegetable I have never tried before – an acorn squash.
I have tasted numerous other types of squashes and liked them all, so you can imagine how eager I was to get back home and taste this last Mohican of the squash world.
I could not believe I have not come across this type of squash on the farmer’s market, or in any of the grocery stores I visit so often.
My aunt was quite delighted that she could teach me something new and gave me a great family recipe to prepare her acorn squash as well. But we will get back to that later on, let us first discover what does acorn squash taste like and is it healthy to eat!
Believe it, or not, this was a first-timer for me too! 🙂
What is Acorn Squash? The Basics
The name says it all – it is a squash shaped like an acorn!
Its botanical name is Cucurbita pepo L. var. turbinata. Acorn squash is a culinary vegetable native to the USA, cultivated from the time of the Native American Indians to this day.
Its standard color is green, but you can also find white and orange acorn squash varieties. They all grow on a vine and ripen in an early fall. Their flesh is orange-yellow no matter the outside color.
Acorn squash is one of the smallest members of the squashes family as it normally weighs no more than two pounds and grows up to seven inches long.
How to Choose the Best Acorn Squash and Make it Last
- If you want to enjoy a ripe acorn squash, you should pick the one that weighs between one to three pounds. Larger squashes are usually stringy and dry.
- Pick it up and check if it feels heavy for its size because it should. The skin must be smooth and have no soft spots whatsoever. It must not be shiny, or it has been picked too early.
- The color of the skin should be dark green with some orange throughout. Too much orange signals that the squash has overripened, and it will not be good to eat.
- Ideally, the acorn squashes should be stored in a cool dark place such as a cellar and can last up to one month. Refrigerate or freeze acorn squash only after you cook it.
How Healthy is the Acorn Squash for You? 7 Greatest Health Benefits of the Acorn Squash
How healthy is the acorn squash? A lot!
It might be small, but it is packed with nutrients that will help:
1. Boost your immunity
- Rich in Vitamin C, acorn squash can help keep you healthy. Vitamin C helps your body defend from bacteria and other harmful pathogens thus preventing infections and other diseases. Eat a lot of squash during winter, and you can avoid the flu!
- Vitamin C will also contribute to good-looking skin, healthy and strong teeth and the optimal performance of other organs in your body. It is an antioxidant that fights off the most dangerous disease of today – cancer.
2. Keep your vision in check
- Acorn squash is a significant source of the Vitamin A as well. The high levels of beta-carotene secure the orange color of its flesh but also act as an antioxidant that reduces the oxidative stress in your eyes preventing macular degeneration and cataracts.
3. Keep your skin beautiful and healthy
- Both Vitamin C and Vitamin A along with other nutrients found in acorn maintain your skin healthy, smooth and sleek. The antioxidants keep the skin toned and prevent premature aging. If you have scars, blemishes or other imperfections, these compounds will help your skin heal fast and protect it from further damage.
4. Help your digestion
- Acorn squash offers a lot of dietary fiber (9 grams per serving) and thus regulates your digestion preventing constipation, cramps and bloating. It is great to eat when you suffer from diarrhea too.
5. Help control diabetes
- Dietary fiber help regulates your levels of blood sugar as well and can thus prevent the occurrence of diabetes. If you already suffer from diabetes, eating acorn squash can help stabilize your glucose levels.
6. Regulate your blood pressure
- Rich in potassium, acorn squash can help maintain optimal blood pressure level. Potassium acts as a vasodilator relaxing your blood vessels and thus lowering the blood pressure and keeping you safe from a heart attack or a stroke. Magnesium found in this squash controls the potassium intake and increases its positive effects.
7. Strengthen your bones
- Minerals found in acorn squash, such as calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and iron play an important role in building bone tissue. They help heal the bone matter or re-grow it when necessary thus preventing osteoporosis and securing our stability, mobility, and strength in the old age.
What Does Acorn Squash Taste Like?
Like most members of its family, acorn squash will not overwhelm you with its distinctive taste and aroma. Quite oppositely, acorn squash brings about a very mild taste, almost bland, that can be easily combined with other flavors – both sweet and savory.
It offers a slightly buttery and sweet taste, similar to the pumpkin but a bit more sugary. However, it does not feature the complexity of flavors like pumpkin and can be quite offish when eaten on its own.
Being quite neutral and versatile, it is favorite among cooks. There are numerous ways you can cook it such as roasting, steaming, stuffing, and sautéing. Some brown sugar and nuts on top can do the trick and make the acorn squash taste heavenly, but first try my aunt’s recipe, you will not regret it!
Do you want to find out more new tastes and flavors? Go here!
Further Reading: The Most Recommended Vegetable Steamer Baskets – Barbara’s Reviews
My Aunt’s Favorite Acorn Squash Recipe You Just Have to Try!
Shhhh! Keep this recipe a secret! If my aunt finds out I have shared it publicly, she will never forgive me! (Luckily, she does not use the internet!) 😉
You need the following ingredients:
- Two medium acorn squashes
- Three medium Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored and diced)
- Half a cup of melted butter + two tablespoons more
- Half a cup of honey
- Pinch of salt
Further Reading:How Long Does Honey Last: The Question That Needs To Be Answered
- Wash the squashes.
- Cut them in half and remove seeds and fibers.
- Place the halves cut side down on a baking pan and pour half an inch of boiling water in it.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, mix the apples with melted butter and honey
- Take the baked halves out, turn them around, brush some butter on them and sprinkle salt to taste.
- Fill each half with apple stuffing.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes more.
Enjoy the smell and taste! 🙂
All good things in life come in small packages, and acorn squashes are no exception. They might be small, but they are super healthy and nutritious.
With some simple cooking, you can turn them into a great meal or dessert in no time at all.
I regret not trying them earlier, so do not waste a minute more!
Run along and try the acorn squash immediately! Just don’t forget to come back and tell me what you think! Cooking tips and recipe suggestions are welcomed as well!