I look forward to the fall season so I can take advantage of the earth's yield this time of year. Acorn squash is at the top of my "Fall Fav's" list and I try to find new ways to use this wonderful vine vegetable. Although considered a winter squash, the acorn squash is from the same family as summer squash, which includes zucchini. It is a botanical fruit which is treated as a culinary vegetable. Squash is native to the Americas. Thought to be the first food cultivated by Native American Indians, squash, along with beans and corn, is part of the Indian triad of the three most important food staples.
I've incorporated acorn squash in soups, stews and curries, but there's nothing like the simplicity of roasting these beauties, which softens the skin and brings out the rich, buttery and sweet flavor notes. For this reason, I tend to treat the acorn squash like a dessert, which is why I use a small amount of natural sugar to lightly caramelize the flesh. So, the next time you're shopping the produce department, pick up an acorn squash and experience the wonderful flavors hiding behind the green, rigid skin.
For your reference, I've included a simple recipe below for Caramelized Acorn Squash. Try it out and let me know how you like it!
Caramelized Acorn Squash
Author: Regina Thomas Dillard
Preparation Notes: You'll need to remove the fibers and seeds from the center of the acorn squash before steaming, broiling or baking. To make the squash easier to cut, pierce the skin in a few spots before baking. The deeper the yellowish orange color of the flesh, the sweeter it is.
2 Acorn Squash (halved, seeded)
4 Tbsp Coconut Sugar (2 Tbsp per squash)
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp Cinnamor or Nutmeg
1 Tbsp each (Pistachios, Walnuts, Raisins) May substitute raisins for dried cranberries or chopped dates
Remove seeds and fibers from squash. With flesh side up, drizzle with coconut oil. Wrap squash with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes or until flesh is tender. Remove squash from oven. Add Coconut Oil, Sugar and Cinnamon to each acorn half. Place halves under broiler for 5-10 minutes, or until flesh has caramelized. Remove from broiler and top with nuts and dried fruit. Allow squash to stand 2 minutes before slicing.
Regina Thomas Dillard is the author of "FEED: Living Food Recipes to be Made and Eaten with Love", and founder of Inner + Sanctum Wellness, a business dedicated to assist others as they embark on their holistic journey. All products are handmade and sourced from reputable organic and natural ingredients purveyors.