Acorn squash (Cucurbita pepo var. turbinata), also called pepper squash or Des Moines squash, is a winter squash with distinctive long ridges on its exterior and sweet, yellow-orange flesh inside. Although considered a winter squash, acorn squash belongs to the same species (Cucurbita pepo) as all summer squashes (including zucchini and crookneck squash).
Indigenous to North and Central America, the squash was introduced to early European settlers by Native Americans.
The most common variety is dark green on the outside, often with a single splotch of orange on the side or top, however there are other varieties including golden color as well as varieties that are white. As the name suggests, its shape resembles an acorn. Acorn squashes typically weigh one to two pounds and are between four and seven inches long. Acorn squash is one of the most perishable winter squashes, lasting only a few weeks in storage. The stem has a prickly feel.
Acorn squash is most commonly baked, but can also be microwaved, sauteed or steamed. For savory recipes, it may be stuffed with rice, meat, or vegetable mixtures. If a sweeter dish is wanted, maple syrup is often used to fill the halves prior to baking or can used in a sauce or glaze to enhance the squash's flavor.