Acorn Squash Varieties - What's the Difference?

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There are a few different acorn squash varieties available to the backyard vegetable gardener. Most varieties are similar in taste, texture and appearance. A typical acorn squash is dark green on the outside with golden colored flesh on the inside.  It is usually in the shape of an acorn.  The texture is slightly firm and buttery. Most varieties have a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. However, some acorn squash varieties are unique in appearance and flavor.

When choosing which variety of acorn squash you want to grow, there are a few factors you should consider.  First of all, do you want a vining type plant and if so, do you have the space for it?  Most acorn squash varieties lend themselves pretty well to vertical growing because the fruit usually don't get that large.  So, even if you don't think you have the space for a vining variety, you might be able to make it work if you create a trellis or some other support structure for the plants to climb. If you are trying to grow acorn squash in a container, you'll probably want to select a bush variety, just because the plants are more compact.

Another factor to consider is how big you want the actual squash to be.  We often like to cut an acorn squash in half, scoop out the seeds, roast the squash and then serve the half a squash as is, with a little bit of butter and cinnamon in the seed cavity.  For this reason, we don't want a large acorn squash because it takes up too much room on a plate.  Smaller squash work better for us.

We often get asked about which is our favorite variety of acorn squash.  We have grown a couple over the years, but our favorite today is the Table King Bush, which is an heirloom variety.  We like the fact that the plants are compact, and yet they still produce high yields - often 6+ squash per plant.  They don't take up a ton of space in our garden, which leaves us room to plant other favorites.  The flavor is nutty and sweet and the texture is almost never stringy.  In addition, the squash are just a bit smaller, averaging around 2 pounds each.  For us, this makes them the perfet size for serving and storing.  And speaking of storing, we routinely store our winter squash for 3-4 months without many problems.  In our experience, Table King Bush squash meet all of our long term storage expectations. In addition, the seeds are a great treat themselves when roasted.  This variety is ready about 85 days after germination. 

Here is a list of some more of the more common varieties of acorn squash, along with plant and fruit descriptions...

Acorn Squash On Vine
  • Bush Table Queen - this variety produces dark green, acorn shaped squash that are about 5 inches in diameter with deep ridges, orange flesh with good texture, ready in 80 days, good choice for container gardening

  • Heirloom Table Queen - an heirloom variety ready in 85 days, golden colored flesh is nutty, ribbed dark green skin, acorn shaped, vining plant type suitable only for traditional gardens

  • Festival Hybrid - this unique variety of acorn squash produces cream colored squash with light yellow stripes and dark green circles on the blossom end, 1-2 pounds each, ready in 100 days, squash have a flattened acorn shape, plants are fairly compact

Basket Of Acorn Squash
  • Early Acorn Hybrid - this variety features very compact plants, good for container gardening, each plant bears 4-6 large, dark green squash that average 4 pounds, classic acorn shape, orange flesh is tender, sweet and nutty with a smooth texture, ready in 75 days

  • Table Ace - this variety is ready in 75 days, large acorn shaped squash are dark green and average 4-5 pounds, smooth texture and sweet, nutty flavor, good all around variety

  • Ebony - this variety features a very dark green skin, good taste and texture, light orange colored flesh, ready in 80 days
  • Cream of the Crop - this variety features very smooth, buttery flesh that is both sweet and nutty in flavor, average size is 3-4 pounds, good variety for making soups and stews, ready in 80 days
  • Sweetnut - this acorn squash variety is an old heirloom that produces rounded fruit that average 2-3 pounds.  The seeds are free of the tough outer coating which makes them great for roasting.  Ready in around 80 days.
  • Sweet Dumpling - this acorn squash variety is an heirloom that produces smaller fruit that average 1 pound each.  Unique because the fruit is white with green stripes, resembles more of a pumpkin in shape, ready in 90 days
  • Click on the following links to learn more about growing acorn squash.

    Roasted Acorn Squash

    Click here to learn about planting acorn squash

    Click here for information about watering and fertilizing acorn squash plants

    Click here for help diagnosing and curing common acorn squash plant problems

    Click here to learn about harvesting acorn squash

    Click here for some of our favorite acorn squash recipes

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