Harvesting Acorn Squash Seeds to Grow Your Own

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Growing squash in the garden is even more fun when you’ve saved the seeds yourself! We tried a delicious recipe in the fall and I saved seeds to grow our own. Here are some tips on harvesting acorn squash seeds!

Saving Acorn Squash seeds for planting - daughter scooping seeds out of winter squash
Saving Acorn Squash seeds for planting – daughter scooping seeds out of winter squash

BTW – for the record, the acorn squash we roasted with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter came out so delicious! I’m honestly not sure if it counts as a vegetable or a dessert!

Anyway, before I get sidetracked on yummy acorn squash recipe ideas, let’s dig into harvesting some seeds!

What is acorn squash?

Shaped much like its namesake, acorn squash is also known as pepper squash or Des Moines squash. Treated as a winter squash, acorn squash makes for hearty fall and winter recipes. In actuality, this squash comes from the same species as traditional summer squashes like zucchini.

The scientific name for this plant is Cucurbita pepo.

Halved acorn squash cut open on a cutting board
Halved acorn squash cut open on a cutting board

What does acorn squash taste like?

The taste of acorn squash is mild and buttery. It reminds me of a combination of pumpkin and butternut squash flavor.

How do you harvest acorn squash seeds?

Harvesting acorn squash seeds is similar to saving pumpkin seeds. First, shallow-cut the squash in half. Twist the halves apart and then remove the seeds from each half, separating them from the pulp. Lay the acorn squash seeds on a paper plate or open cardboard box such as a cereal box, so they can dry completely.

Daughter collecting and saving acorn squash seeds
Daughter collecting and saving squash seeds

How do you know if Cucurbita Pepo is ripe?

Acorn squash is ready to pick when a rich orange tone begins to show on the bottom of the fruit. The skin should also be tougher as it becomes riper.

Can you eat seeds from squash?

Yes, acorn squash seeds are edible! You can cook them up like you would with those from a pumpkin or create other unique acorn squash seed recipes. Try salting and roasting the seeds or use them any other way you’d enjoy pumpkin seeds.

You can even toast them and put them in a yummy trail mix!

Harvesting Acorn Squash Seeds

It’s easy to learn how to save seeds from squash! When you’re ready to prepare and eat the squash, that’s the ideal time to harvest the seeds.

Follow these steps to collect and save acorn squash seeds:

  1. Shallow cut the acorn squash fruit in half along one of the longitudinal ridges. Use a sharp knife to get through the outer rind.

    Shallow cut squash for seed saving
  2. Press the knife a bit deeper into the squash in one spot and use leverage to start popping the two halves apart. Cut a bit deeper if needed.
  3. Twist the two halves of the squash apart to reveal the seeds.
  4. Use a spoon to gently scoop out all the squash seeds from both halves. Scoop them onto a cutting board or other surface.

    Scoop squash seeds with a spoon
  5. Separate the seeds from the pulp.
  6. Place the seeds on a paper plate or piece of clean cardboard.
  7. Spread out the seeds so they aren’t touching, if possible.
Inside of an acorn squash
Inside of an acorn squash

Drying and Saving Seeds from Acorn Squash

After collecting acorn squash seeds, check on them regularly to make sure they dry completely for storage.

Follow these steps to ensure the seeds dry well for saving.

  1. Every couple of days, move the seeds around so they dry completely.
  2. Label a paper bag or paper envelope with the type of squash and the saved date.
  3. Store the seeds inside until you’re ready to grow acorn squash yourself!

You will probably get so many seeds that you can share and swap with friends. Or, you can always eat the seeds!

Enjoy the many possibilities!

Acorn squash cut in half on a cutting board
Acorn squash cut in half on a cutting board

Future Plans for Planting

I look forward to planting acorn squash for our squash garden patch this year. I’ve never grown acorn squash and I am hopeful it will do better than our summer squash has to date.

(Those dreadful vine borers keep messing up everything!)

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Stay tuned for a future post on growing acorn squash from seed! Hopefully I’ll have some good news on that soon!

National Acorn Squash Day is September 7 - lots of green acorn squash piled up

In the meantime, hit us up in the comments for any questions you have on acorn squash seed harvesting and storage, or share your own favorite tips.

Happy Gardening!

10.18.22 – Updated to add product suggestions.

11.16.22 – Updated to add National Acorn Squash Day graphic.

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