Although considered a winter squash, acorn squash actually belongs to the same species as all “summer” squashes (such as zucchini and yellow squash). The most common variety is dark green in color, but newer varieties can be yellow, white, even variegated. As the name suggests, its shape resembles that of an acorn. It is a good candidate for winter storage, keeping several months in a cool dry location. Squash can be refrigerated, but it will deteriorate quickly and should only be refrigerated 1-2 weeks.
Acorn squash is most commonly baked, but it can also be microwaved, sautéed, or steamed. Cut squashes in half from top to bottom with a sharp knife, then remove the fibers and seeds. Bake for 1 hr at 400°F – squash is done when the flesh is very tender. Timing depends on the size of the squash, but it is difficult to overbake. To prevent halves from rocking on the baking tray, cut a small slice off the bottom to flatten it.
The ribbed shape of acorn squash makes peeling difficult, so acorn squash is often served cooked in its shell, with fillings. If you need the pulp only, cook it first, then scoop the pulp from the skin. To quickly microwave acorn squash, cut in half, cover, and cook for 13 min on high. Do not add water.