Acorn squashes are easy to identify, with their dark green skin and acorn shape. These hard winter squashes provide sweet, soft orange flesh that is ideal for sauteeing, mashing or using in place of sweet potatoes or other starchy vegetables. Acorn squashes can be quickly cooked in the microwave, either whole, halved or cubed.

Acorn squash comes in a range of sizes, from 1 to 3 pounds. The larger the squash, the longer it will take to cook in a microwave. The flesh is fibrous, but cooks up soft and sweet. Choose firm acorn squashes that are a black-green color with some patches of yellow-gold. Yellow, gold or orange colored squashes are more mature than black-green ones.

Microwaving acorn squash is an alternative to oven roasting it. While you will not develop the caramelized edges and surfaces of the squash, microwaving is a much faster cooking method. Microwaving squash also makes it much easier to remove the skin, which is important for mashed squash recipes. The ridges of an acorn squash can make it difficult to peel.

Microwaved acorn squash can be used as is, seasoned with little more than salt, pepper and butter or olive oil. However, because it is easier to peel after microwaving, microwaved acorn squash is ideal for making mashed acorn squash.

To make mashed acorn squash, scoop out the cooked flesh, or remove the peel from the cubes, and mash with the back of a fork or a potato masher. Season with butter, salt, cinnamon and sugar for a classic acorn squash dish.

Microwaved acorn squash can also be placed under a broiler to quickly brown. Drizzle with honey and Parmesan cheese, and place the cooked squash 2 to 3 inches below a broiler, heated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, to crisp the surface of the squash and to give it color.