Blog

November 7th, 2016

The Edible Acorn

by Yael Ben-Chaim

After a crisp October day at the market, nothing sounds better than coming home to a warm meal that smells like the feeling of fall. Acorn squash, named for its shape (after a squirrel’s favorite snack), is being harvested, is in season right now and can be found at farmers markets along with other squash varieties, pumpkins and gourds.

Acorn squash is a warrior vegetable; it can grow in the coldest of temperatures underground throughout the winter, and even throughout summer. The optimal growing temperature is approximately 60 degrees, and about five seeds should be planted each time to ensure at least one successful plant. Though considered a “winter” vegetable, acorn squash is in the same family as summer squashes. The germination period of an acorn squash is about 85 days, at which point the squash will grow beautiful yellow flowers which are also edible.

Acorn squash is green on the outside, with a soft yellow-orange interior. Like many fruits and vegetables of this color, acorn squash is full of Vitamin A, an essential vitamin for eyesight and eye care. Acorn squash also contains about 20% of the daily recommended allowance of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for immune system health and skeletal systems. So eat up on acorn squash for your eyes and to prevent the dreaded winter cold.

Acorn squash is commonly roasted in the oven, used in soups, and can be seasoned and flavored in numerous ways. Because acorn squashes are already flavor dense, preparing the vegetable does not require many ingredients!  We loved this simple recipe for Roasted Acorn Squash from the kitchn:

Ingredients:

  • 1 or more acorn squash
  • Olive oil (or butter)!
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chef knife
  • Spoon
  • Roasting pan or baking sheet

Instructions:

  • Heat over to 375 degrees
  • Cut squash in half from stem to tip
  • Once squash is halved, scoop out the seeds and extra flesh with soup spoon and place into separate bowl. You can roast these seeds later!
  • Rub the squash halves with one tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper (and any other seasons of your liking)
  • Roast in oven for 45-60 minutes. When done, the halves should be caramelized and golden
About the Author Yael Ben-Chaim

Yael is a food-lover, interested in local food systems and farmers markets. Follow Yael's blog posts on farmer market produce, recipes, and nutrition information. Yael is an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Maryland Farmers Market Association and is developing a seasonal food education program for MDFMA.