Baked Acorn Squash

On the heels of Jessica Bryant’s article, Eating Healthy During the Holidays, here is a recipe I have enjoyed since childhood. The recipe is from my mom! I prefer to use acorn squash, but any squash will do!

If you have been to a pumpkin patch this season, you probably have seen many varieties of squash being sold along with the common pumpkin, but what on earth do you do with it?

First, pick out your squash using these guidelines:

  • Look at the color of the acorn squash. A ripe squash will have a blend of green and orange. The majority will be a dark green, and the part of the squash which grew touching the ground will turn from yellow to a vibrant orange. If the majority of the squash is orange, it was picked too soon, and is not ripe.
  • A ripe squash will be firm/hard, when you pick it up. It will also seem heavy for its size. In this case, it is a sign of good produce!
  • If you’re picking your own squash, look at the stem of the squash. It will be brown and withered when ripe.
  • Go for a dull colored skin, rather than a shiny one.
  • Squash can live on your counter or pantry if dry and cool, for up to three months after being picked.

What you need:

  • A glass baking dish large enough to hold the squash after it has been cut in half
  • Foil
  • Water
  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • A sharp knife
  • Scoop
  • An oven set to 350/F

Prepare your squash:

  • Turn your oven to 350/F to preheat.
  • Using a sharp knife, start at the top and make a cut straight down to the bottom, cutting in half.
  • Remove all the seeds and webbing like you would for a carving pumpkin with your scoop.
  • You can bake the squash like this, or cut into quarters if it will be easier to serve. I just recommend cleaning out the center while it is cut in half, as it will be easier to scoop out.
  • Lay each piece in the bakeware, cut side up, and add your butter and brown sugar. I use a tablespoon or so of butter in each half. You can use more or less, based on your taste. This is also true for your brown sugar. I usually add about two tablespoons to each side.
  • Add about an inch of water to the bottom of the pan, and the cover everything with foil.
  • Bake on 350/F for one hour. It is better to overcook, than undercook. If you feel your squash is on the large side, just add a few more minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.
  • You CAN eat the skin once cooked.
  • Alternatives to butter and brown sugar include using a pastry brush to cover in olive oil, and then add crushed garlic. Still unsure? You can also use maple syrup (again using a pastry brush) and add some brown sugar.
  • Other fun flavors include: Salt and pepper, fresh herbs, Cayenne pepper, or cinnamon.

Just like any other squash you have had, you can simply use a fork to eat the squash. This is one of the easiest (and tastiest) foods you can add to the holiday table this year, and know you are getting some wonderful nutrients and vitamins.

Happy (Healthy) Eating!

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