I absolutely love this time of year – FALL. Fall brings gorgeous colors on the leaves, perfect afternoon running weather, leggings, riding boots, and a new variety of produce. I try to eat local and buy what is in season. While pumpkin generally gets all of the attention on food blogs during this time of the year, today is dedicated to my favorite fall fruit, acorn squash. Yes, acorn squash is a fruit… trust me, I Googled it last year after someone told me. I mentioned I was obsessed with fruit, but in the fall my favorite thing to eat is acorn squash… well I guess I am still obsessed with fruit!
My absolute favorite way to eat acorn squash, and many vegetables, is roasted. Roasting uses no added fat, and it is simple – which is the best part. As much as I love to cook, sometimes I just want fabulous tasting, looking, and smelling food, without all the hard work part. During the fall months, I think we eat this nearly once a week.
Acorn squash is also more is more nutrient-dense than all types of summer squash. Acorn squash is rich in vitamins A & C, beta carotene, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds. In fact, The American Dietetic Association lists winter squash as one of the best sources of the antioxidant beta carotene [ Beta-carotene is a carotenoid that may specifically support eye health and prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration.]! A diet with a high intake of the nutrients provided by acorn squash may decrease the risk of a number of serious medical conditions. Did you know, a high intake of antioxidant-rich foods is linked to a lower risk of cancer, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease and diabetes!? To get the most out of this fabulous fruit, you will want to eat it within a few days of buying, cut it right before cooking, and steam or bake the squash instead of boiling it to keep vitamin C from being lost in the cooking water.
Interesting Fact: The vitamin C content of foods is degraded by exposure to air, light, heat and water.
Season: Acorn squash is at its peak in the fall, from early October through December, though many supermarkets carry it year-round.
How to Store: The squash’s sturdy exterior allows it to be stored at room temperature for up to one month, or longer if kept in a cool, dark place.
Boiled (we already covered that), baked, as pasta, over pasta, steamed, in soup, stuffed, or roasted.
- 1 acorn squash
- 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 tbsp. agave nectar
- ¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup dried cherries
- 2 tbsp. butter
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut the squash in half and use a spoon to remove all the seeds from the squash, then cut each half into quarter pieces (the squash should be cut into 4 pieces).
- Place the wedges into a large baking dish then lightly coat with olive oil, then coat the middle of each quarter with agave nectar.
- Bake the squash in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until soft and caramelized around the edges.
- While the squash is baking, cut the walnuts and cherries into smaller pieces.
- Remove the squash, top with cherries and walnuts; OR, in a small saucepan over medium heat add the butter, walnuts and cheries; cook until the butter is melted, then drizzle over the squash.