Winter is one of the year’s most thrilling seasons. Between holiday parties, cozy sweaters, and hot cocoa by a crackling fire, it’s hard not to fall in love with December through February. However, it can also be taxing on our bodies.
Cold temperatures often leave us tired and sluggish, especially when we have to brave frigid winds just to get from place to place
Luckily, staying active during these months doesn’t have to involve spending hours at the gym or walking through snowdrifts. One way to get warm and your body moving is by incorporating more squash into your diet. The good news is that it’s easy to cook it in the microwave.
Here’s how to cook acorn squash in the microwave.
Cut your acorn squash in half and scoop out and discard any seeds. Poke holes, then place each half face down on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a plastic wrap, and nuke for 10-12 minutes at high power.
Check it every couple of minutes until it’s soft enough to pierce with a fork easily. Remove from microwave and allow it to cool slightly before handling.
In today’s article, we’ll explore each of these steps and share some tips for cooking acorn squash in a microwave. We’ll also address common questions about cooking your winter squash in a microwave.
Let’s get started.
Can You Cook Acorn Squash in the Microwave
Yes, it’s true—you can cook acorn squash in a microwave. Cooking in a microwave is much faster than boiling or roasting. The results are equally delicious, and you don’t have to stand over a hot oven for hours on end.
So, why an acorn squash? Is it not just a regular old pumpkin?
It’s a common misconception that acorn squash and pumpkins are the same. Well, they are not. While they belong to the same family, Cucurbitaceae, there are significant differences.
Acorn squash is a variety of winter squash shaped like a small pumpkin. It has a nutty, sweet flavor and dense texture and can range from tan to dark orange. It’s also rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin A and C, and antioxidants such as beta-carotene.
Now comes the tricky part: how do you cook it?
Well, there are several ways. You can boil, steam or roast it. While roasting is a popular choice because of its rich flavor and taste, it requires time and effort. Steaming necessitates the use of additional equipment, and boiling is messy.
So, is there another option?
It turns out that you can still get that delicious taste by cooking your acorn squash in a microwave.
However, many people are wary of microwaving food because it tends to cook unevenly. The good news is that by taking a few simple precautions, you can reap all of the benefits of microwave cooking without sacrificing flavor or texture.
See the tips below for how to cook acorn squash in a microwave.
Tips for Cooking Acorn Squash in the Microwave
Cooking acorn squash in a microwave doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some tips for making it easy and tasty.
- Select heavy, firm acorn squash free of blemishes and soft spots. If it feels light for its size, it’s probably not very ripe yet. Additionally, the color should be dark green with yellow or orange streaks.
- Before cooking your squash, ensure it’s spotless, especially if you intend to eat it raw. Because of its hard rind, acorn squash can harbor many bacteria and dirt that can make you sick if not removed first.
- Cut your acorn squash in half lengthwise with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler to be flat and even. This will help it cook evenly and significantly reduce the cooking time.
- Remove seeds and any stringy bits from inside each piece before cooking it. Seeds or other hard parts can prevent even heat distribution, resulting in uneven cooking. Scrape them out with a spoon or a melon baller.
- Avoid plastic or Styrofoam containers when microwaving your squash since they contain harmful chemicals that may leach into your food and cause health problems. Instead, opt for glass or ceramic dishes or those with a microwave-safe label.
- Poke holes in your squash with a fork or toothpick to allow steam to escape and keep it from exploding while cooking.
- Make sure to cover each piece of acorn squash with plastic wrap before cooking. This will trap moisture and flavor inside, giving you a soft, tasty center when you’re done.
- Since it’s heavy and thick, acorn squash may take longer than other foods to cook in a microwave. It is recommended that you microwave it on high power to ensure thorough cooking.
How to Cook Acorn Squash in the Microwave
In this section, we’ll delve into the process of cooking acorn squash in a microwave. The steps are simple and concise, so you won’t need any prior experience or knowledge to follow along.
Step 1: Selecting Your Squash
The first step is as simple as it sounds. Look for firm, heavy squashes for their size and have a dark green rind. Avoid any with soft spots or blemishes.
Step 2: Rinse under Running Water
Once you’ve selected your squash, it’s time to give it a good rinse under running water. This will remove any dirt or debris clinging to its surface and ensure that it cooks without any unnecessary added flavors. After rinsing, pat dry with a clean towel.
Step 3: Cut it in half and Scoop out the Seeds
Place your squash on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, cut it in half from top to bottom. After that, scoop out any seeds or strings with a spoon.
You’ll want to leave about 1/4 of the flesh intact around the edges of your squash, so don’t dig too deep. This will prevent it from falling apart during cooking.
Step 4: Poke Holes with a Knife
Next, take your knife and poke holes all over your squash. These will allow steam to escape while cooking, preventing it from exploding.
Step 5: Place it on a Microwaveable Plate, Face Down
Placing your squash face down on a microwave-safe plate allows steam to build up and cook it from all sides. You’ll also want to leave enough space between each half, so they don’t touch while cooking.
Step 6: Cover it loosely with a Plastic Wrap
Once you’ve placed your squash on its plate, cover it loosely with plastic wrap. This allows steam to build up and cook it from all sides without letting moisture escape into your microwave. The extra moisture also helps soften your squash as it cooks.
Step 7: Nuke it for 10-12 Minutes on High
Now, place your plate into your microwave and set it to cook on high for ten minutes. If you’re using a microwave with a rotating carousel, rotate it once during cooking. Then, pierce it with a knife and check for doneness.
Step 8: Remove From the Microwave and Let It Cool
Letting it cool for a few minutes protects you from burns and allows it to finish cooking from residual heat. Remove your plastic wrap once it’s cool enough to handle and enjoy. You can eat it as is or serve it with butter or a sauce of your choice.
How to Store Acorn Squash
How well you store your squash will determine how long it lasts. Consequently, it will also affect its taste and texture.
Here’s how to enjoy fresh acorn squash for weeks after harvest.
- Ideally, store squash in a dark, well-ventilated area with temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You must store your squash away from other fruits and vegetables, as it will absorb their smells over time.
- Wash your squash only after cutting it and ready to use it. Washing it beforehand will cause moisture to form on its surface, leading to mold growth and rot over time.
- Own grown squash will last longer than store-bought squash since you control the growing conditions. If you must buy from a market, it’s best to use it within two weeks of purchase.
Once cooked, store your squash in an airtight container and refrigerate it for four days. You can also freeze it for up to a year. However, freezing will change its texture slightly and some of its flavors.
Faqs On How to Cook Acorn Squash in the Microwave
1. Can a whole acorn squash be cooked in the microwave?
You certainly can cook whole acorn squash in a microwave. The key is knowing how long to cook it and how to tell when it’s done.
Split it in half and scrape out any seeds before placing it cut-side down on a microwave-safe plate or dish and covering it with plastic wrap. If it pierces easily with a fork or knife, it’s done.
2. Can you microwave an acorn squash to make it easier to cut?
The answer is yes. Microwaving your acorn squash will soften its rind and make cutting into your deliciously sweet orange flesh easier. It’s a great time-saving hack for people who don’t have hours to spend at their kitchen counter. Simply zap it for 3 minutes on high, then set it aside to cool.
3. Can you microwave butternut squash to soften it?
It turns out you can. You might want to microwave butternut squash if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for it to soften on its own. Make sure to pierce it first so that steam doesn’t build up inside it. Also, if you overcook it, you’ll get mushy squash instead of soft, tender flesh.
4. Can you boil butternut squash?
Boiling butternut squash is one great way to cook it. It’s easy, and you can do it on your stovetop. However, boiling will result in a soggy squash that isn’t appealing to eat. If you want a firmer texture, then microwaving is your best bet.
5. Can I steam butternut squash?
Yes, you can steam butternut squash. Steaming is a great way to cook delicate fruits and vegetables without losing any of their flavor or nutrients. It’s also a good alternative if you don’t have time to roast your squash before dinner.
You don’t need a steamer basket or colander to steam squash; a microwave and a modified baking dish will suffice.
6. Will acorn squash explode in the microwave?
If you microwave acorn squash, there’s a chance that it will explode. But don’t worry; you can prevent this from happening if you pierce holes into your squash before cooking it. The holes allow steam to escape preventing pressure from building up and causing an explosion inside your microwave.
7. Can you eat acorn squash skin?
Yes, acorn squash skin is edible. It’s rich in nutrients and fiber. The flavor is a bit milder than other winter squashes, but it still makes for a delicious side dish or addition to soup. You’ll also find that the skin is soft, making it easy to cut with a knife.
8. How do I bake acorn squash fast?
Wash and dry your acorn squash. Cut it half lengthwise, remove seeds, and place face down on a microwave-safe plate. Add 1/2 cup of water to the plate, poke holes into each piece with a fork and wrap in plastic wrap. Then, microwave for ten minutes on high or until tender. Let cool slightly before serving.
9. How Long Does Squash Take To Cook in the Microwave?
It will take between 10 and 12 minutes for 1lb acorn squash to cook in a microwave on high. However, the time can vary depending on your microwave wattage, so it’s always best to adjust accordingly.
If your squash is cooked, pierce it with a fork; it should easily slide in and out of the flesh without resistance.
Microwaving acorn squash is a quick and easy way to get dinner on the table. This method requires minimal prep time, allowing you to spend more time with your family. It also preserves nutrients that would otherwise be lost during boiling.
The key to a delicious microwave-cooked acorn squash is to slice it in half lengthwise. You don’t want to end up with an overcooked center or undercooked exterior.
And as long as you use firm, blemish-free acorn squash, it should work perfectly every time.
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