This squash soup features cinnamon for a warm note of spice.
The dark green squash gets its name from its acorn-shape. The golden-orange flesh is mildly sweet and dryer in texture than other squashes, like butternut or buttercup. The fruits are normally about five to eight inches long and four to five inches across. The tough outer rind has deep, characteristic ridges, which, when mature, develop a splash of yellow-gold. The acorn squash was particularly valued for its ease of use in early civilizations as it could be baked whole in their outdoor clay and brick ovens.
Acorn squash is a good source of carotenoids, nutrients that improve night vision and eye health. As vision acuity often decreases with age, it is particularly important for seniors to get enough dietary carotenoids. Carotenoids are also antioxidants, and can decrease the risk of certain cancers. Additionally, squash contains a high amount of vitamin C, which plays an important role in immune function and disease prevention.
When peeling winter squash, it is much easier to remove it after it has been baked. The roasting process of the squash allows the skin to lift off in the oven. Otherwise, the process can be quite difficult and tedious. If peeling before baking is necessary for your recipe, a sharp potato peeler should do the trick, but may yield less squash than the former method.
Winter Squashes have a light, sweet, slightly nutty flavor and can be added to almost any recipe. Adding certain spices can change the taste of your squash to one that coincides with the taste of your main dish. Winter squash is a versatile cucurbit that can be used for soups, smoothies, stuffed in mushrooms, or a simple side dish.
If you are interested in saving the seeds, you can prepare them in the same way you would prepare pumpkin seeds. After cleaning them with water, these seeds are best when tossed with a little bit of oil and seasoning. Feel free to use salt, or even spice it up with some chili powder, or wasabi powder. These seeds can be eaten after they’re cooked, but are also a clever garnish for winter squash recipes.
Storing & Cooking Information
Handling: For acorn and other bumpy squash, cook with the skin still on.
Storing: Winter squash will last 3-6 months stored at room temperature in a dry and cool (50-55 degrees) but not cold location.
Freezing: Cook the squash until soft, scoop out the flesh, pack in freezer containers, label, and place in the freezer.