Acorn squash is an delicious side dish that says fall with every bite, and it is easier to prepare than most people realize. I’ve served it to guests who had no idea what it was, but once they tried it, they loved it.
I was grown and married before I ever ate acorn squash, and I realize I am probably not alone. This step by step tutorial for preparing and cooking acorn squash will hopefully help cooks who have never tried making acorn squash to venture out of their comfort zone and give it a try.
Choosing Acorn Squash
Although heirloom squash varieties are available that are more orange in color, the most common variety of acorn squash found in grocery stores is best when mostly green and dull in color. Too much orange indicates an overripe squash which will be stringy, and a shiny squash indicates that it was harvested too early and the sweetness of the flesh was not allowed adequate time to develop.
Preparing Acorn Squash for Cooking
Like all of the winter squash varieties, acorn squash has a center filled with soft, stringy pulp and large seeds. To prepare the squash, wash the outside and slice it in half from stem to blossom end.
Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and gunk from the center and discard.
The cleaned squash will look like this.
Cooking Acorn Squash
For this recipe, prepare enough squash for each person to have one half of a squash. In a pan large enough to fit all of the squash, pour just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and place the squash upside down in the pan (not pictured). I find that the squash cook faster if I prop the squash on each other and the sides of the pan so that the steam can circulate around the flesh of the squash.
Cook in the microwave on high for several minutes until squash are tender but not mushy. Usually this takes 4-6 minutes but it will depend on the number of squash you are cooking and the strength of your microwave.
When the squash are tender, drain the water from the pan and turn the squash over (careful, they’re hot!). Place a pat of butter in the center of each half.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar to taste.
Heat until butter is melted and the butter/cinnamon/sugar mixture is bubbly. Serve immediately. To eat, just scoop the flesh of the squash out with a spoon or fork (don’t eat the skin). It’s delicious!
Easy Microwave Acorn Squash
- 1 acorn squash
- 2 tsp. brown sugar or honey
- dash of cinnamon
- 2 tsp. butter
- dash of salt
- 2 Tbsp. water, for steaming
- Wash acorn squash, cut in half; scrape out seeds. Place upside down into a glass baking dish containing 2 Tbsp. water. Cook in microwave until squash is tender, about 6 minutes (time depends on your microwave strength and the number of squash you are cooking).
- Remove from microwave, turn squash right side up in same dish. Into each hollow, place butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cook in microwave until butter mixture is bubbly. Serve hot.
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