We are here today to praise National Acorn Squash Day, celebrated on September 7th.
The holiday honors the contribution that this humble, somewhat mysterious, and often overlooked plant has made to the human diet.
Acorn squash is a winter squash, which is nevertheless related to several summer squash species (including zucchini and yellow crookneck squash). With its pumpkin-like appearance and acorn-like shape, it confuses many cooks who are unsure how to handle it in the kitchen.
But acorn squash is starchy vegetable with great potential.
So let’s look at the reasons to celebrate National Acorn Squash Day and together squash any misconceptions about this delicious food.
Introducing the Acorn Squash
In addition to its rich heritage as a part of our diet for centuries, the acorn squash (also known as a pepper squash or Des Moines Squash) is full of nutrients and hardy enough to store for several months. It is a good source of minerals, and vitamins A, B, and C.
Super versatile, it works well in a variety of side and main dishes.
Acorn squash comes in many shapes and sizes. While it is typically dark green, it can also be found in other colors, including golden yellow, white, and multicolored. Acorn squash resembles the pumpkin in shape although it is much smaller.
Acorn squash has been around a long time.
In fact, it is believed to have been one of the first foods cultivated by Native Americans; together with beans and corn, squash was the cornerstone of the Native American diet.
Choosing the Best of the Best
Getting your squash at the peak of ripeness is essential.
An acorn squash will turn dark green when it is ready to be eaten (while the yellow part of the squash, which is in contact with the ground turns orange). If you wait too long to harvest, the squash becomes dry, fibrous and stringy.
Here are some guidelines for choosing the best acorn squash:
- Look for specimens with smooth, dull textured skin with no soft spots.
- Choose a squash between 1 to 3 pounds to make sure it is not too dry.
- Avoid bright orange squash as they are likely overripe and not very good for cooking.
The absolute best way to celebrate Acorn Squash Day is by making a truly delicious acorn squash dish. Here is our special recipe for Oven Roasted Autumn Vegetables.
This recipe celebrates seasonal fruits, vegetables and nuts with acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, pecans and dates. It also has fall flavors like cinnamon and nutmeg.
For an extra touch, you can buy a few additional acorn squash at your local market to decorate the table.
Finally, if you want to share pictures of your celebration on social media, remember to use the right hashtag: #AcornSquashDay.