- The Modern Farmer Guide to Winter Squash Varieties
- 1. Sugar Pumpkin
- 2. Kabocha Squash
- 3. Butternut Squash
- 4. Acorn Squash
- 5. Spaghetti Squash
- 6. Delicata Squash
- 7. Buttercup Squash
- 8. Hubbard Squash
- 9. Kuri Squash
- 10. Sweet Dumpling Squash
- 11. Atlantic Giant Pumpkin
- 12. Buen Gusto de Horno Squash
- 13. Peanut Pumpkin
- 14. Jack Be Little
- 15. Cheese Pumpkin
- 16. Calabaza Squash
- 17. Cushaw Squash
- Guide to Winter Squash Varieties
- Top Winter Squash Varieties for the Self-Sufficient Garden
- 2. Delicata Squash
- 3. Acorn Squash
- 4. Hubbard Squash
- 6. Buttercup Squash
- Patrolling for Squash Pests: Successful Management Strategies
- The ‘Compleat’ Book on Squash
- Which Winter Squash Varieties Do the Pros Grow?
- A Guide to Different Types of Winter Squash
- Similar articles
- 10 Squash Varieties You Should Be Eating
- Green Striped Cushaw
- Turks Turban
- Peanut Pumpkin
- How To Identify Squash—Different Squash Types You Didn’t Know About!
- Delicata Squash Oven Fries
The Modern Farmer Guide to Winter Squash Varieties
Summer is a time of light, fresh, mild, delicate squash. But the calendar now says November – nights are getting longer and the squash available at our farmers markets are getting bigger, tougher, sweeter, and stronger. Interestingly, winter squash belongs to the same three or four species as summer squash, but there’s a key difference: Summer squash varieties are grown to be picked while still immature – that’s when they taste best – while winter squash are tastiest as full, robust, mature fruit. (Yes, fruit: all squash are fruits. Technically they are a type of berry known as a “pepo,” a distinction that is not very useful outside biology classes and possibly the television quiz show Jeopardy!.)
There are three major species you have to know: Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita pepo, and Cucurbita moschata. Very broadly speaking, C. maxima tends to be the biggest, C. pepo tends to be the lightest and most delicate, and C. moschata tends to be the sweetest. However, there are hundreds of different varieties of winter squash and it’s hard to generalize about them. Just for example, there are squash commonly called “pumpkins” in all three species. There’s a lot going on!
Anyway, we’ve collected some of the most common varieties as well as some of the more unusual ones that you should immediately snag should you see them available. Squash on!
1. Sugar Pumpkin
Danielle Scott on Flickr
Sugar pumpkins are members of C. pepo, and can come in a variety of colors, but generally are smooth-ish, round, thin-skinned, and medium-sized. You don’t want to bother with a sugar pumpkin that’s bigger than about 10 pounds; they are usually less sweet. The sugar pumpkin is a good all-around winter squash; not too sweet, not too dry. As such it’s a good comparison for other squash.
2. Kabocha Squash
Viry Magallanez on Flickr
Winter squash is very popular in Japan, and though there are dozens of heirloom varieties originating from the country, their most successful export is the kabocha. Sometimes called the Japanese pumpkin, the kabocha is more squat than a sugar pumpkin, usually either dark green or a bright orangey-red on the exterior, and has a vibrant, yellow-orange flesh. It is one of the sweetest winter squash varieties, but also a bit crumbly and dry.
3. Butternut Squash
Mike Mozart on Flickr
This is another pretty middle-of-the-road squash, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Like the sugar pumpkin, the butternut squash is reliably sweet without being as sugary as some other varieties, is thin-skinned, and is also fairly easy to work with. As with most winter squash, go for the smaller ones, which tend to be sweeter and more flavorful.
4. Acorn Squash
Gary J. Wood on Flickr
This C. pepo is a much less sweet variety; it tends to be a little on the dry side, and a bit more savory and nutty than the sugar pumpkin. The texture is more fibrous than the sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, and there’s also a lower squash-to-guts ratio than most winter squash, meaning that there’s not as much edible flesh – once you scoop out the seeds, you’re left with what is more like a big bowl. This makes it ideal for stuffing.
5. Spaghetti Squash
Africa Studio / .com
Easily the weirdest squash on this list, despite its ubiquity. Seriously, sometimes people forget how weird this squash is. The spaghetti squash, when cooked, separates into noodle-like strands. It’s mild and delicate, and also has a very low sugar content compared with other winter squash.
6. Delicata Squash
Michelle Patrick / .com
Another weird one. The delicata feels halfway between a summer and winter squash. Though many winter squash have a tendency to be sort of dry and pasty, the delicata is very moist, which makes it ideal for simply serving raw, sliced very thin raw. (All winter squash are edible raw. At their best, they have the crunch and rich flavor of a carrot. At their worst they’re floppy and gross.)
7. Buttercup Squash
zonesix / .com
The buttercup, member of C. maxima, is sort of a parent variety; many other common squash, including some on this list, derive from it. Typically it is dark green, with a flat top. The flesh is a deep, bright orange. It tastes very similar to the kabocha: quite sweet, a bit dry.
8. Hubbard Squash
Zigzag Mountain Art / .com
Another C. maxima, Hubbards get huge, and are sometimes sold in pieces because no sensible human can eat, like, 40 pounds of squash. They are usually pointy on top with a sort of teardrop shape, and can be light to dark green or reddish-orange, with a very thick and tough skin. Flavor? Like most C. maxima, they’re heavy, sweet, and dry.
9. Kuri Squash
Maja Dumat on Flickr
A derivation of hubbard, but better: kuri (sometimes called “red kuri”) is a smallish, teardrop-shaped red squash. The name comes from the Japanese word for “chestnut,” and it does, like the acorn squash, have sort of a nutty flavor. Since it’s usually picked while smaller than the regular Hubbard, it’s also usually tastier – not quite as dry and crumbly.
10. Sweet Dumpling Squash
By Harald Bischoff (Own work) , via Wikimedia Commons
Back to C. pepo! At only about four or five inches across, the sweet dumpling squash is usually among the smaller winter squash you’ll find. It’s most often a creamy off-white, speckled with either green or yellow; it’s quite a pretty fruit. It is one of the absolute best winter squashes: not dry at all, nutty and flavorful and not too sweet. Definitely worth a try if you find them.
11. Atlantic Giant Pumpkin
By Nick Ares , via Wikimedia Commons
These are stupidly large pumpkins grown for competitions. They do not taste good and there is no real reason for you to buy them outside novelty. But they are fun to turn into a beer keg.
12. Buen Gusto de Horno Squash
Darla Schoenrock on Flickr
One of the coolest-looking winter squash varieties: usually pale green, always ribbed and completely covered in lumps. It is hard to prepare if you’re trying to peel it, but the guts-and-seeds center is comparatively small, so don’t worry about losing too much. The name means “tastes good from the oven.” The name is accurate.
13. Peanut Pumpkin
Jack on Flickr
Named for the peanut-shell-like growths that cover the skin, the peanut pumpkin is one of the smartest purchases you can make this fall. If you buy one of these guys, everyone will know that you know your squash. The “peanuts” are actually the squash freaking out because it’s producing too much sugar; it squeezes the excess sugar out through the skin, causing those blobs. The more growths, the higher the sugar content. This is the best squash for anything sweet, including pumpkin pie.
14. Jack Be Little
Apium on Flickr
For children. Technically edible, but honestly why bother, they don’t taste notably good and the yield is terrible.
15. Cheese Pumpkin
Vasenka Photography on Flickr
A specialty of Long Island, New York, the cheese pumpkin…does not taste like cheese. Bummer. It also doesn’t look like a wheel of cheese, even though that’s where the name comes from. It’s in the C. moschata family, along with butternut squash, and tastes basically the same.
16. Calabaza Squash
Cogito Ergo Imago on Flickr
Commonly used in the Caribbean, especially in Jamaica, this squash is very similar to kabocha: dark green, quite large, and a bit squat, with an orangey-yellow flesh. It’s usually sold in pieces due to its large size, and it is moderately sweet.
17. Cushaw Squash
Dyogi on Flickr
Ah, a strange one! Cushaw is not a C. pepo, C. maxima, or C. moschata. It is the only even slightly common member of Cucurbita argyrosperma, and not usually found outside North America. It’s crookneck in shape, like a butternut squash with a bent top, and it can be green, white, orange, or striped. Unlike most of the other squash on this list, the cushaw does not particularly love very cold weather; it is most commonly grown in warmer climates, like Mexico and the Southern United States. Similar to a delicata squash, the cushaw is mild and delicate, and is excellent raw.
Guide to Winter Squash Varieties
This article from Jovina Cooks Italian for Honest Cooking was republished with permission. It originally appeared as Cooking with Winter Squash.
These cooler days are a great time to cook with winter squash. Sweeter, denser and more firm in texture than summer squash or zucchini, winter squashes take well to a wide variety of recipes and can be delicious in soups, casseroles, risotto, lasagna and even desserts.
Winter squash varieties are harvested in the fall, and these hardy vegetables will keep well through the cold winter months for which they’re named. Sugar pumpkins, acorn squash, spaghetti and butternut squash are probably the most common types to find at your local supermarket. The other varieties are worth seeking out at farmers’ markets and specialty markets. Regardless of the type, always select winter squash that are blemish- and bruise-free with an intact stem and a heavy feeling for their size.
Naturally low in fat and calories, winter squash provide significant nutritional benefits. For example, one cup of baked butternut squash contains vitamins A (from beta carotene), B6, C and E, as well as magnesium, potassium and manganese. Flavors are generally mild to sweet, so squash won’t overwhelm other ingredients and can easily be incorporated into seasonal recipes. The orange and yellow flesh helps brighten dishes, especially in the colder months, when variety and color can be hard to come by in seasonal produce. Don’t be discouraged by winter squash’s size and tough exterior—you can sometimes find popular varieties, like butternut, in stores already peeled and cubed.
See below for a guide to selecting and cooking with 12 winter squash varieties.
1. Kabocha Squash
Characteristics: The squat, green kabocha—the Japanese word for squash—has a nutty, earthy flavor with just a touch of sweetness. It’s similar in shape and size to a buttercup squash, but the base points out and not in.
2. Butternut Squash
Characteristics: A slim neck and bulbous bottom give the butternut squash its distinctive bell shape. The muted yellow-tan rind hides bright orange-yellow flesh with a slightly sweet taste. To make butternut squash easier to handle, cut the neck from the body and work with each section separately.
3. Red Kabocha Squash
Characteristics: The red kabocha is squat, like its green counterpart, and has faint white stripes running from top to bottom. While the green kabocha is savory, the red kabocha is sweeter.
4. Carnival Squash
Characteristics: Combine an acorn squash with a sweet dumpling squash and you get a carnival squash. While the carnival squash’s exterior resembles both of its relatives, its yellow flesh is mellow and sweet. Use it wherever acorn squash or butternut squash is called for in a recipe.
5. Sugar Pumpkin
Characteristics: Sugar pumpkins are prized for their classic pumpkin flavor, as well as for their thick and fleshy walls. If you’d like to opt out of canned pumpkin for your baking and make your own purée instead, use a sugar pumpkin.
6. Sweet Dumpling Squash
Characteristics: This whitish-yellow and green squash is small and compact, making the whole squash the perfect-size for an individual serving. The flesh tastes very much like a sweet potato and the skin is edible is as well. Use sweet dumpling squash in recipes calling for sweet potato or pumpkin.
7. Spaghetti Squash
Characteristics: Take a fork to the inside of a cooked spaghetti squash and you’ll understand how this squash got its name. If you’re in search of a healthy pasta alternative, try this very mild-tasting squash.
8. Blue Hubbard Squash
Characteristics: Most blue Hubbard squash are huge and bumpy and are often sold as pre-cut wedges. Some varieties, like the Blue Ballet, are smaller, making it easier to store and prepare at home. Underneath the gray-blue skin is sweet-tasting orange flesh.
9. Delicata Squash
Characteristics: This particular winter squash, with its pale yellow shading, most closely resembles its summer squash relatives. The thin skin is edible, but also more susceptible to bruises and rot. When cooked, the delicata has a consistency similar to that of a sweet potato—creamy and soft—although the flavoring is more earthy.
10. Red Kuri Squash
Characteristics: Like all Hubbards, the red kuri has an asymmetrical, lopsided look to it. However, the red kuri is smaller and easier to handle. Its yellow flesh is smooth and has a chestnut like flavor.
11. Buttercup Squash
Characteristics: Compact and green with paler green stripes, the buttercup can closely resemble a kabocha squash but it has a distinctive circular ridge on the bottom. On some, the ridge may surround a more pronounced bump, or “turban.” A freshly cut buttercup may smell like a cucumber, but once cooked, its orange flesh becomes dense.
12. Acorn Squash
Characteristics: This mild flavored squash is named for its acorn like shape. Choose one with a dull green rind; an acorn squash that’s turned orange will have tough and fibrous flesh.
Found in: Fall, In Season, Ingredient, Winter
Top Winter Squash Varieties for the Self-Sufficient Garden
2. Delicata Squash
Gardeners love delicatas for their looks and the sweet flavor of their 1- to 2-pound striped, oblong fruits. Not preferred by squash bugs but susceptible to vine borers and powdery mildew, delicata squash (Cucurbita pepo) is ready to harvest in about 90 days, and the cured fruits will store in a cool place for three to four months. Delicata’s growth is more compact compared with that of other winter squashes.
Top varieties. Open-pollinated ‘Delicata’ produces fruits up to 9 inches long on robust, fast-growing plants. The soft skin of the striped fruits is edible after it’s cooked. Open-pollinated ‘Honey Boat’ squash has nutty, yellow-orange flesh that’s high in calcium and vitamins A and C.
In the kitchen. Delicata’s flesh is at its best when the fruits are halved, baked and buttered, although some cooks also like to grill or pan-sear unpeeled slices. When filled with a savory stuffing, a baked delicata half can become a one-dish meal.
3. Acorn Squash
Compact acorn squash plants yield heavy crops of pleated fruits weighing 1 to 2 pounds. Most varieties have green rinds, but some ripen to orange or tan. Acorns (Cucurbita pepo) are susceptible to squash vine borers, but are of only passing interest to squash bugs and cucumber beetles. Plants can be seriously weakened by powdery mildew. The fruits mature in 90 days and will store for two to three months.
Top varieties. Open-pollinated ‘Sweet REBA’ has good resistance to powdery mildew. This variety produces abundant yields of dark green fruits with golden flesh. Heirloom ‘Thelma Sanders’ has tan skin and creamy flesh with flavor notes of roasted chestnuts. This open-pollinated variety stores better than other acorns.
In the kitchen. Baked acorn squash is as delicious stuffed with savory meats and grains as it is with spiced apples and raisins. Keep it simple by dressing with butter and honey or brown sugar. You can save cooking time by roasting thick, unpeeled slices instead of halves.
4. Hubbard Squash
Prized for their dry, orange flesh and stability in storage, long-vined Hubbard squash (Cucurbita maxima) grow best in the cool, moist climates of New England and the Upper Midwest. Depending on variety, the fruits can weigh 5 to 15 pounds, with bumpy rinds that may be blue-gray, green or red. Vines usually set only a few fruits, and the plants struggle in hot climates. Hubbards are attractive to all squash pests, so they are often grown as trap crops. (See Patrolling for Squash Pests for tips on using trap crops.) Most varieties need 100 days to mature, and the fruits will store for six months.
Top varieties. The heirloom ‘Golden Hubbard’ variety produces 8- to 12-pound fruits with dry, fine-grained flesh. The rinds turn orange as they cure. ‘Blue Ballet’ yields smaller 4- to 6-pound fruits with gray-green rinds that contain sweet, fiberless flesh.
In the kitchen. The most difficult part of working with Hubbard squash is cutting it open, which is best done by hacking a stout knife into the rind and then tapping on the knife’s dull side with a mallet until the fruit splits open. The pared pieces can be boiled, steamed or roasted and used in pies and soups.
Prolific and fast-growing, spaghetti squash plants produce heavy crops before powdery mildew can weaken their vines. Squash vine borers and squash bugs can infest spaghetti plants. A wide range of climates are suited to growing spaghetti squash (Cucurbita pepo), which mature in about 90 days and will store for about three months.
Top varieties. Open-pollinated ‘Spaghetti’ supplies family-sized, 3- to 5-pound fruits. The vines are 15 feet or longer and often develop supplemental roots as they grow, giving them an edge against squash vine borers and drought. The oblong ‘Stripetti’ hybrid carries some delicata genes that give the fruits green stripes and a sweeter flavor than other spaghetti varieties. Hybrid ‘Small Wonder’ produces heavy crops of 2- to 3-pound fruits that store well.
In the kitchen. The tender strings of cooked spaghetti squash resemble pasta. Bake or steam halves of the squash until just done, and then tease out the mildly flavored “noodles” with a fork. Purists add only butter, salt and pepper to this delicate dish. In casseroles, layer spaghetti squash with pasta sauce and Parmesan cheese.
6. Buttercup Squash
Grown as a sweet potato substitute in northern climates, buttercup squash (Cucurbita maxima) has long vines that run up to 15 feet and produce 2- to 5-pound fruits. The dense, dark-orange flesh becomes flaky when baked, like starchy potatoes. Buttercups are often regarded as the best winter squash for pies. The plants are moderately susceptible to pests and are especially well-adapted to the Pacific Northwest and Upper Midwest. Fruits can take up to 100 days to mature and will store for six months.
Top varieties. The 2- to 4-pound fruits of hybrid ‘Sweet Mama’ mature slightly earlier than those of other buttercups — before powdery mildew can affect the vines. Open-pollinated ‘Burgess’ buttercup produces blocky 3- to 5-pound fruits with smooth, sweet flesh.
In the kitchen. Cut peeled buttercups into wedges, and then toss the wedges with olive oil and herbs before roasting in an open pan. Prepare buttercups for pies by baking halves or steaming large chunks.
Patrolling for Squash Pests: Successful Management Strategies
There’s no quick fix when it comes to squelching squash pest problems, but you can try these techniques to keep the bothersome bugs under control.
Plant non-preferred squash types to disinterest your region’s worst pests. Gardeners in the eastern United States favor butternuts over all other types of winter squash because borers usually leave the plants alone.
Start plants indoors to give them a strong, borer-free beginning, and then grow them under row cover until the flowers open and require visits from pollinators. Row cover will also protect winter squash types from two other persistent pests: squash bugs and cucumber beetles.
Delay planting your main crop until early summer, after many squash bugs and cucumber beetles have found other host plants.
Plant trap crops by early direct-seeding a few pest-magnet squash, such as ‘Baby Blue’ Hubbard or yellow straightneck summer squash. When squash bugs or borers find the trap crops, cover those plants with a bag, pull them up and discard them.
Check plants often for squash bugs’ shiny brown egg clusters, and rub them off with a finger or a wet cloth. Gather nymphs with a hand-held vacuum, or crush them with your fingers. Trap squash bugs by placing small boards under plants during periods of cool weather. First thing in the morning, overturn the boards and quickly brush any hiding squash bugs into a bucket of soapy water.
Repel vine borers from susceptible winter squash varieties by wrapping aluminum foil shields around the base of the plants’ stems after you’ve removed the row covers. (Read more in Organic Squash Vine Borer Control.)
Encourage natural predators, such as ground beetles and damsel bugs, by growing a bed of mulched perennial flowers and herbs in a central part of your garden. Add sweet alyssum, dill and other easy annuals to attract parasitic tachinid flies and other winged squash bug predators.
Grow squash in areas ranged by poultry. Chickens, guineas, geese and ducks will nab adult pests that are in search of host plants. Master homesteader Harvey Ussery reports that using portable electric fence netting to pen a few guineas in a squash patch can be highly effective.
The ‘Compleat’ Book on Squash
Choosing which winter squash varieties to grow is challenging when we have hundreds of options to consider. Happily, gardener Amy Goldman has done the legwork for us while researching her encyclopedic book The Compleat Squash. Goldman evaluated 150 heirloom varieties by raising them and then testing their qualities in her kitchen. Here are some of her all-time favorite winter squash types and varieties, along with a few of the reasons she adores them.
Buttercup: Sets the standard of excellence. Dry and sweet-meated. Not a whisper of fiber.
Hubbard: Proves that bigger is better. Thick, rich flesh. Excellent table quality.
‘Sibley’: Best banana squash — and that’s saying a lot. Dry, with a delicate flavor.
‘Thelma Sanders’: The sweetest acorn squash. Chestnutty.
‘Triamble’: Meaty, sugary, brilliant orange flesh. A shelf life of two years isn’t unheard of.
‘Vegetable’ spaghetti: The closest thing to pasta since durum wheat. Sweet, golden fiber.
Which Winter Squash Varieties Do the Pros Grow?
Farmers who grow winter squash for profit have tried dozens of varieties, so as part of my research for this story on the top winter squash types for self-sufficient gardens, I tracked down a few knowledgeable folks and asked them a few questions.
Do you agree that most farmers market and farmstand customers want small-sized winter squash? Are there certain winter squash types or varieties that bring customers back for more?
“I sell to both farmers market and commercial outlets (Whole Foods, Dillons, etc.), and I try to have a variety of sizes in both the butternut and spaghetti. I realize there are a lot of single people and senior citizens who don’t want big squash, so I have a variety of options, and try to put some big ones in the box as well for the families with several children. I generally use open-pollinated seed, so the fruits are never uniform in size.” — Jim Rowh, Pure Prairie Farm, Clayton, Kan.
“Most of the time my customers pick the medium-sized squash, but may go smaller with the single-serving types like acorns. By far, the one variety that brings them back is the open-pollinated ‘Delicata’. Most haven’t heard about it, but I talk it up and after they try one, they love it.” — Bill Bass, Honest Eats Farm, Willis, Mich.
“We sell the most of acorn — green, white, ‘Fordhook’, ‘Carnival’ and ‘Sweet Dumpling.’ Our customers love ‘Small Wonder’ spaghetti, ‘Thelma Sanders’ acorn and ‘Sunshine’ hybrid squash.” — Hohl family, Harvestville Farm, Donnellson, Iowa
Are there special cultural techniques you use to improve the eating quality of the winter squash you grow?
Most of the farmers said “not really,” but 20-year seed-saver Jim Rowh explained his management strategy:
“I always save some seed back in case calamity strikes and I can’t get good seed. But I also always purchase some new seed every year — at least half to two thirds of what I plant — primarily to keep the strains as true to pure as is possible. Spaghetti is bad about picking up pollen from other squashes, and tends to get an orangish look if there are any pumpkins around. It’s still very edible, but just has a little heavier texture than pure spaghetti with no adulteration. The butternut does not cross as easily and tends to stay true. I like ‘Waltham’ butternut, but have found over the years there are some differences in the ‘Walthams’ that each seed company has to offer. I rarely save seed for acorn squash, as all the commercial buyers want the big acorns, which are hybrids for the most part. The open-pollinated acorns don’t get big.” — Jim Rowh
If your life were to change tomorrow and you became a “civilian” winter squash grower, which winter squash types or varieties would you continue to grow for you and your family?
“Acorn, butternut, delicata and spaghetti squashes. We would probably throw in something different — buttercup, kabocha, ‘Red Kuri’ Hubbard and ‘Sweet Dumpling’ acorn — to keep things interesting.” — Bill Bass
“‘Thelma Sanders’ acorn squash, ‘Sweet Dumpling’ acorn, and green acorn.” — Hohl family
“Open-pollinated spaghetti squash and ‘Waltham’ butternut, plus a hybrid acorn for consistent size.” — Jim Rowh
“We love open-pollinated ‘Delicata’ and that’s what we’d grow if we were cultivating a home garden.” — Cure Organic Farm, Boulder, Colo.
A Guide to Different Types of Winter Squash
Heather McClees November 16, 2018 Nutrition Email Print Twitter Pinterest Facebook
High in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, there’s no doubt winter squash is a nutritional powerhouse. But these yellow and orange fruits are also culinary all-stars, thanks to a range of flavors, natural sweetness and the kind of heartiness you crave on a cold, snowy day.
Whether you prefer a paleo diet, follow a vegan lifestyle or omit gluten from your meals, winter squash always accommodates specialty diets. Plus, it’s one of the easiest foods to digest. It’s also safe for nightshade-free, dairy-free and grain-free diets. Not to mention, there are all types of squashes, which means you get to enjoy them in a variety of dishes.
20 Types of Winter Squash
You’re probably familiar with yellow squash (sometimes called “summer squash”) and green zucchini. They’re available all year long and usually get more plate time during the warmer months. Winter squash, on the other hand, usually hits the market starting late in the summer and can be harvested through winter. Plus, they keep well in a cool, dry place. Hence, the reason these varieties are favorites for hibernation season.
Here are 20 types of winter squash that are easy to find and ready to be eaten.
1. Acorn Squash
Acorn squash is easy to find year-round. It’s small, dark green and shaped like, well, an acorn. Most acorn squashes weigh only a few pounds, so they’re quick to cook. Choose one that’s half orange and half green acorn if you plan on storing it for a few days. Orange-tinted acorn squashes are ready to serve; but when left for too long, they become too ripe and tough in texture.
How to cook it: Because of its small size, acorn squash has a mildly sweet flavor when roasted and a delicate mouthfeel. Try it in this roasted acorn squash with fig-balsamic glaze.
2. Ambercup Squash
Also known as a red kabocha, this variety of squash is short, round and has a sweet-nutty flavor. Though about the same size as acorn squash, ambercup squash features slightly firmer flesh. When properly stored, it has a long shelf life. Look for a beautiful bright orange-red color – it’s easy to spot. Also, you want your ambercup squash to be pretty firm when you press your thumb on it.
How to cook it: The sweet taste of ambercup squash makes it a great substitute for sweet potato hash with kale. Peel it, cube it and roast it in the oven or over a skillet with peppers and onions.
3. Banana Squash
Banana squash gets its name, because it’s long and yellow like the fruit. It’s also significantly larger, with most banana squashes weighing in at eight to 10 pounds. In some parts of the country, you can find a jumbo pink banana squash that’s 20 to 30 pounds and feeds an army. Banana squash is usually available year-round, but you’ll find the cream of the crop between summer and early fall.
How to cook it: Banana squash is easy to prepare and has a similar flavor to delicata squash. It can be roasted to enjoy as is, or peeled and diced to be tossed into soups, stews, chilis and more.
4. Buttercup Squash
This lovely little squash is green, round and similar in size to an acorn squash. In fact, it looks like a green pumpkin. It’s part of the Turban squash family and has a similar flavor, texture and exterior. The orange, creamy flesh is among the sweetest of winter squash varieties. Its peak starts in early fall and runs through winter.
How to cook it: Bring out the buttercup squash’s sweet-nutty flavor by roasting or baking it in the oven.
5. Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is one everyone knows and loves. It has a bottleneck shape and ranges in size from small to very large. No matter how you prepare it, butternut squash is a must-have in the kitchen, come fall. Luckily, butternut squash is available year-round. Look for a pale orange exterior.
How to cook it: Inside, is a deep orange flesh that’s delicious roasted and thrown into a salad with arugula, dried cranberries and goat cheese.
6. Calabaza Squash
Calabaza squash looks more like a melon than a squash, thanks to its light green skin and flesh. It’s similar in size and shape to spaghetti squash, with a stringy interior that’s perfect for making vegetable noodles. Depending on where you find it and where it’s grown, calabaza squash is also known as chilacayote. Calabaza squash first appears late summer, but it peaks in the fall through winter.
How to cook it: Bake, steam, roast or even grill this type of squash. You can even puree it to make a smooth pie filling or thick sauce.
This tasty little orange squash is a hybrid breed of sweet dumpling and acorn squash. It is usually cream colored with orange spots and dark green stripes.
How to cook it: It’s a delicious option to try roasted or baked with other winter veggies, such as beets, fennel and sweet potatoes. It has a tender flesh, sweet flavor and is full of seeds that can also be roasted and eaten like pumpkin seeds.
8. Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
The Long Island cheese pumpkin is one of the oldest types of pumpkins cultivated in America. It get its name because the outsize peel and flesh resemble orange-colored cheese. Make no mistake; there’s nothing cheesy about its flavor. This is a must-try winter squash if you love pumpkin.
How to cook it: The Long Island cheese pumpkin is grown as large as a Jack-o-lantern, but you can use it like a sugar pumpkin and puree it for pumpkin pie.
9. Delicata Squash
Delicata is a long squash that has a sweet flavor like corn. Its long shape is also easy to spot and ranges from green to yellow, depending on its ripeness. Some breeds are even striped with dark green vertical lines. Find the delicata squash at its peak starting late summer and running through early fall. Note that its skin is a bit softer than other winter squashes.
How to cook it: This squash is best baked or steamed and enjoyed as a side dish. You can even eat the skin.
10. Fairytale Pumpkins
These pumpkins look like something out of a fairytale with an exotic, gold-orange hue. They’re also very large in size. You may find a fairytale pumpkin sold under the name Dickinson, Kentucky or Chelsea Squash. Some types of canned pumpkin are actually made from this variety, because their flesh is a dark orange color. The fairytale pumpkin is only available September through November. It takes a while to reach its peak color, but you’ll know it’s ready when the fruit is firm and has reached an orange-cheese shade.
How to cook it: Simply slice the fairytale pumpkin along its ribs and bake. Sprinkle with cinnamon and coconut oil with buttery flavor for a sweet side or healthy dessert.
11. Gold Nugget Squash
Sometimes known as oriental pumpkin, gold nugget squash is a small type of squash; most only weigh one to three pounds. With its orange peel and tender orange flesh, gold nugget squash is sometimes mistaken for a pumpkin. It tastes best starting in late summer through the winter months.
How to cook it: You can slice this squash in half lengthwise and roast it, or pierce it in a few spots and bake to be thrown into soups, stews and more. The sweet flavor is perfect in many fall recipes.
12. Hubbard Squash
Hubbard squash comes in blue and red varieties. It has a lumpy exterior and dark, bluish-green exterior interior. Blue hubbard squash may also be sold as blue ballet squash, because they look so similar. Find it at its peak starting in early fall.
How to cook it: Peel and boil your Hubbard squash to use it in sweet pies.
Kabocha may just be the most well-loved winter squash. It goes by many other names, though, including Ebisu, Delica, Hoka, Hokkaido or Japanese Pumpkin. The skin is very orange in color, but can be green, blue or red, depending on where they’re grown. Kabocha is available year-round.
How to cook it: It’s super sweet, incredibly nutty and has a delicious texture almost like a sweet potato. So you can enjoy it in any dish you would a sweet potato or buttercup squash.
14. Red Kuri Squash
Red kuri squash is a small, red variety of hubbard squash. Its dark red color and sweet, chestnut flavor make it a well-loved squash. Red kuri squash is also packed with fiber, vitamin A, potassium and vitamin C. This type of squash starts maturing in September. Harvests usually last until November.
How to cook it: Cut the squash in half from the top, scoop out the seeds and roast until tender. Red kuri is best used in pies and soups.
15. Spaghetti Squash
The name of this squash is telling of its interior. Spaghetti squash has a stringy flesh with a very mild flavor and crunchy texture similar to spaghetti noodles.
Spaghetti squash is ready for the picking when its flesh is hard and golden yellow.
How to cook it: Spaghetti squash is very mild in flavor with notes of sweetness in the background and tastes great when served under marinara or plain tomato sauce. Also, try it baked the way it is in this garlic butter spaghetti squash recipe.
16. Blue Hokkaido Pumpkin
Blue hokkaido Similar in size and shape to a kabocha squash, blue hoikkaido is a delicious and very sweet type of pumpkin that’s perfect when roasted or baked.
Hokkaido pumpkin is round with an edible skin and very sweet with a nutty, chestnut flavor.
How to cook it: It has a sweet flavor that comes out when roasted or baked.
17. Sugar Pumpkin
This is your classic Halloween-style pumpkin. It’s short in size, dark orange in color and has a short stem – perfect for carving and eating. The sugar pumpkin flesh may range from stringy to firm.
How to cook it: The sugar pumpkin’s sweet flavor is perfect for roasting and using in pumpkin pie.
18. Sweet Dumpling Squash
Green and white or pale-yellow stripes appear on this type of squash, making it easy to spot at the store. As its name indicates, it’s a very sweet squash with a similar flesh to acorn squash in terms of consistency. The sweet dumpling squash has an edible peel is edible that’s high in fiber. This squash is one of the most versatile easy to find nationwide.
How to cook it: Make a sweet side dish by roasting the sweet dumpling squash and filling it with butter, brown sugar and pecans.
19. Turban Squash
Turban squashes come in many varieties and are easy to spot, because they look like they are wearing a turban hat. They’re sweet, firm and delicious. They range from orange to green in color, with some varieties having a mix of both.
How to cook it: Turban squashes are wonderful for roasting and baking but are also delicious when puréed into a stand-alone soup.
10. White Pumpkin
Though bright white on the outside, white pumpkins have a very dark orange flesh. The flavor is sweet and similar in consistency to other types of pumpkins. White pumpkins are also called ghost pumpkins, snowballs, luminas or caspers.
How to cook it: White pumpkins are beautiful as natural Halloween decorations. But it’s flesh is also very edible. You can use it in place of an orange pumpkin for baking pie or making soup.
Winter squash: storage tips
Be sure to store all winter squash in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry that gets good air circulation or on your counter away from the stove. These types of squash have a very long shelf life and some can be kept for six months or more if stored properly. However, once your squash is cooked, eat it fast. It has a high water content, so it’s not great for freezing and doesn’t last past three or four days in the refrigerator.
Winter squash: cooking tips
Hard squashes and pumpkins taste best when roasted or baked in the oven at high temperatures of 400 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. A good rule of thumb is to prepare them like you would whole sweet potatoes. Also note that squash and pumpkin are much easier to cook whole, since their tough exteriors make it hard to cut through them.
When mixing into a recipe, remember that squash pairs really well with aromatic herbs and spices. Think rosemary, tarragon, oregano, black pepper, Herbs dé Provence and a little lemon juice. For a sweeter dish, use cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and a touch of cloves.
How to bake and roast winter squash
Simply place the whole squash (or pumpkin) on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour – depending on its size – at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once tender, pierce your winter squash with a fork to vent and cool down for 10 minutes. From there, you can slice and serve as you wish. The internal flesh should scoop right out along with the seeds, which means there’s no messy cutting and peeling involved.
How to use winter squash in soups and stews
To use winter squash or pumpkin in soups and stews, you’ll need to cut, seed and peel them first. Use a large, high-quality knife to cut them open and then slice into evenly sized pieces. Treat them as you would potatoes in terms of how long they take to cook, as well as the texture they have in soups and stews. Squash and pumpkin are also perfect in the slow-cooker, though some varieties can get watery and lose their flavor.
Winter squash nutrition info
No matter which squash you choose, they are all low in calories, have zero fat and are great sources of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Once the weather drops, start swapping nutritious winter squash for your baked sweet potato. With so many types of squash, your taste buds will never get bored.
Heather McClees is a nutritionist and a health, food and lifestyle writer from South Carolina. She has a B.S. degree in Nutrition Science and Dietetics with a minor in Journalism and Fine Arts and has a background in the areas of philanthropy, public speaking, nutritional counseling and health- and business-related journalism. Heather has been writing professionally for over 10 years and is passionate about reading, writing, staying active, eating well and spreading the message of health and wellness with others.
Heather McClees is a nutritionist and a health, food and lifestyle writer from South Carolina. She has a B.S. degree in Nutrition Science and Dietetics with a minor in Journalism and Fine Arts and has a background in the areas of philanthropy, public speaking, nutritional counseling and health- and business-related journalism. Heather has been writing professionally for over 10 years and is passionate about reading, writing, staying active, eating well and spreading the message of health and wellness with others.
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10 Squash Varieties You Should Be Eating
Portland Press Herald / Contributor
It seems like every year there are more and more varieties of squash at the market, yet every recipe calls for the same kinds. With a simple Google search, you can find thousands of recipes tossing acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, and spaghetti squash into everything from brownies and soups to pies and curries.
So what’s the deal with all of the other squash placed in crates around your local grocery store and farmers’ market? It turns out, there are actually 700 species of squash all under the plant family Cucurbitaceae. Most varieties termed squash are edible — pumpkins are simply an orange squash, and gourds or ornamental squash are for decoration. But those are just common terms we use day to day. To a farmer, pumpkin, squash, and gourd don’t really have any differences.
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The next time you’re at the market and want to experiment with a new kind of squash, check this list for our favorite lesser-known varieties to mix into all your favorite fall dishes.
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The delicata squash is strikingly similar to a large zucchini. The skin is edible and has a bright yellow color with long stripes down the side. Because the skin is thin, delicata squash will typically last for a shorter period of time, like summer squash. The flesh is sweet and nutty, with a flavor reminiscent of corn and sweet potato. Choose a squash that’s heavy for its size and blemish-free.
Try a delicata recipe: Roasted Red Onions and Delicata Squash
Image zoom Detroit Free Press / Contributor
The tough skin masks a super sweet, golden yellow interior that’s perfect for a pie, puree, mash, or cake. The bumpy skin is typically a hazy blue or bright orange and the variety is the largest among edible squash, other than the field pumpkin. Unless you buy directly from a farmer, you can typically find this variety pre-cut because of its size. Easily substitute this pumpkin-like squash in any recipe calling for a winter squash.
Try a hubbard recipe: Hubbard Squash and Pinto Bean Stew
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Essentially a Japanese pumpkin, the kabocha squash gained a lot of attention last year from food and health brands. The flesh is very sweet — similar to a pumpkin or sweet potato — and the texture is velvety and creamy. The flavors are perfect for soups and purees, and add a richness that can’t be beat. The variety has undertones similar to a chestnut, making it the ultimate fall ingredient.
Try a kabocha recipe: Roasted Kabocha and Kale salad
Image zoom Photo: Iain Bagwell
When you see this squash, you’ll understand why it’s named after Cinderella. The fairytale-shaped produce is perfect for pies and canning. Sometimes called a cheese pumpkin, the flesh is sweet and also great for roasting whole.
Try a Cinderella squash recipe: Whole Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin
Image zoom Roberto Machado Noa / Contributor
Green Striped Cushaw
What looks like a green and white butternut squash turns into a fantastic pumpkin pie filling. The light yellow flesh is just slightly sweet and is delicious in any winter squash dish.
Try a green striped cushaw recipe: Spiced Cushaw Pudding
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The gorgeous colors make this variety perfect for decorating, but don’t be fooled. Hiding underneath the stunning colors is a nutty and pumpkin-like meat that’s perfect in place of steamed or roasted winter squash. Once you’ve scooped out the inside, don’t toss the beautiful exterior. It makes for a professional soup tureen to serve up your perfect squash treat.
Image zoom ullstein bild / Contributor
Also known as the Australian Blue Pumpkin, this variety has either a blue or bright orange outside to reveal a super bright orange interior. It’s quite nutty, with a subtle sweetness that’s perfect for simply roasting and baking.
Try a hokkaido squash recipe: Pumpkin Seed Condiment
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A cross between an acorn squash and a sweet dumpling squash, this gorgeous little veg is fantastic in baked goods and soups. The multicolored skin is pale yellow with green and orange stripes, and has a yellow flesh reminiscent of a sweet potato. It’s delicious in soups, or simply roasted.
Image zoom The Washington Post / Contributor
There’s so much sugar in these delicious pumpkins that it causes the skin to grow peanut-shaped warts — hence the name peanut pumpkin. This variety holds up great in the oven, so try the super sweet flesh in baked goods and breads.
Image zoom Portland Press Herald / Contributor
No, this isn’t a butterNUT squash, but a butterCUP squash, and it’s just as delicious. The dark green rind needs to be removed, but it reveals a bright orange, creamy interior that’s considered the sweetest of squash. This variety is so sweet it can actually be used like a sweet potato. It’s perfect mashed, pureed, steamed, or as a sweet potato replacement in most recipes.
Try a buttercup squash recipe: Winter Squash Risotto with Radicchio
Next time you hit the local market, you’ll feel equipped to go outside your comfort zone. Swap in any of these new types of squash for a flavor-enhanced winter squash dish you’ll love throughout the chilly months.
Winter squashes are best from early fall through winter.
Winter squashes are drier, more fibrous, and much sweeter than summer squashes. The thick, hard shells of winter squashes can not be eaten, but the shells add to the period these squashes can be stored—ranging from 30 to 180 days.
In addition to the sweet flesh which becomes creamy when cooked, the seeds of winter squash can be washed, dried, and roasted either salted or plain.
Winter squash varieties for cooking:
Acorn: somewhat oval and acorn-shaped with a ribbed, dark green skin and orange flesh. The flesh is tender and fine-textured with a flavor that hints of hazelnuts and pepper. To prepare, remove the seeds and bake. You can eat this one directly from the shell. This variety keeps fro 30 to 50 days.
Buttercup: a variety of turban winter squash. It ranges in size from 4 to 8 inches (10-20 cm) in diameter and from 2 to 3 inches (5-7.5 cm) tall. It has a light blue-gray turban crown with a dark green shell flecked with gray. The flesh is orange and tastes a bit like sweet potato. This squash can be baked, steamed, or simmered. This buttercup will weigh about 3 pounds (1.4 kg) and can be stored for about 1 month.
Butternut: large, cylindrical to pear-shaped from 8 to 12 inches (20-30 cm) long and 3 to 5 inches (7.5-13 cm) in diameter. This winter squash can weigh from 2 to 3 pounds (.9-1.4 kg). The color of its skin ranges from yellow to camel. The finely textured flesh is sweet and deep orange. You can bake, steam, or simmer this squash. Avoid this squash if it has a greenish skin.
Hubbard: oval to round squash with a thick rind ranging in color from dark green to gray-blue or orange-red. This squash has a dry, grainy texture and a yellow-orange flesh. The Hubbard is less sweet than other winter squashes. It is best boiled or baked and can be mashed or puréed. It will store for up to 6 months.
Spaghetti: the spaghetti squash is also called vegetable squash. This watermelon-shaped squash has a skin colored creamy-yellow. The spaghetti squash gets its name from its yellow-gold flesh which separates into spaghetti-like strands when cooked. This squash will average from 4 to 8 pounds (1.8-3.7 kg). It will store at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. After this squash is baked, the strands can be served with sauce just like pasta.
Turban: this is a family of winter squashes which includes the buttercup squash. At the blossom end, this squash looks like a turban. Turban squashes range in size from 2 to 15 inches (5-76 cm) in diameter at the base. The skin colors vary from bright hues of orange, green, and yellow. The flesh is fine-textured and very sweet with a hazelnut flavor. Turban squashes can be baked, steamed, or simmered.
How To Identify Squash—Different Squash Types You Didn’t Know About!
Nature has showered us with a variety of fruits and vegetables which we merge with our creativity and foody instinct. We have labelled almost all the edible ones we know with different names and even placed them into categories depending on their similarities and differences. We have a variety of the same vegetable or fruit which take a new form in accordance with the season or environment, the climate or the soil. There is one vegetable which has one of the highest varieties and is classified into the summer and the winter type. This versatility rests with squash. Yes! This veggie is available in multiple shapes and colours, which also differ in taste.
The summer and winter forms do not actually mean the seasonal type but it is purely based on the perishability of this green. The ones which have harder skin and seeds are more durable than the ones with thinner peel, and as such they have been termed as winter squash. Do not be surprised if you come across a winter squash in summers as both the variations are found round the year. After reading this article, you will have an idea as to which squash can be stored for a longer period and which are the ones which we cannot. Summer squash can be kept for one or two weeks whereas, when taken care of, winter squash can be used for months.
Among the different varieties, these are a few popular ones which we might have seen in the market but did not know that it belonged to the squash family.
This winter squash type is known in New Zealand and Australia as Japanese pumpkin. This has a number of varieties such as Cutie, Emiguri, Ajihei, Miyako and Ebisu. Kabocha has a dark green coloured skin and has a shape similar to a pumpkin. The peel is hard and inside it is orange-yellow.
In colour and texture, it is similar to kabocha, but its shape is elongated. Acorn squash is known by different names as Des Moines squash or pepper squash. The ridges are distinct and even though it is a winter squash, it has similarities to the summer squash variety.
The Delicata squash has a tender skin and probably this is the reason behind the name. It has a creamy colour skin with green striped lines along the ridges. Because of the delicate skin this is hard to store for a long time and even in the exportation is also not feasible. Also known as Bohemian squash, peanut squash and sweet potato squash, this used in cooking and resembles the summer squash, even though it is eaten as a winter one.
This vegetable is associated with pumpkin as it tastes like it and is even known as butternut pumpkin in New Zealand and Australia. The interior is orange and the outer cover looks rough yellow, which darkens as it grows. It tastes sweet and one of its most renowned types is the Waltham Butternut.
Hubbard squash can be used as pie stuffing or in soups and has a wide range of vibrant rind colours like orange and gray, and within it is yellow. This winter squash can have a durability of around 6-months if stored well. It weighs between 8 to 20 pounds and owing to its huge quantity, it is sold in cut pieces.
The Calabaza squash is also known as the West Indian pumpkin and this is cultivated in America and West Indies. However, due to its hard skin, it is transported to different places as it can be stored for longer than the ones with thinner skin. This is available in the market in cut pieces, but once cut, like any other fruit it spoils within a few days if not consumed.
The name comes from the fact that this squash splits into strands like that of spaghetti. This cylindrical shiny yellow squash weighs from 4 to 8 pounds and is used in pasta or savored by adding herbs and butter. It is also termed as vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash or vegetable marrow.
Glistening yellow inside and bright coloured peel ranging from green to white to orange, this squash has a typical shape which helped it in acquiring this name. This squash has a big cap which can be removed in order to make it into a pot to hold soup and the like.
9. Gold Nugget
Gold Nugget or oriental pumpkin is a smaller version of pumpkin and it weighs between 1 to 3 pounds. This orangey squash can be cooked, cut into pieces or even prepared whole. This pumpkin look alike is also consumed by baking.
The Carnival squash tastes like butternut squash and sweet potato and is eaten by removing the peel. The hard skin of this winter squash is deep green in colour with light green and orange marks. This vegetable is used in soups or consumed by baking or steaming.
This too looks like a little pumpkin with dark orange skin as well as flesh. It can be roasted by cutting into cubes and being a winter squash is storable for a long time. The flesh is not mushy and has a sweet taste.
The Banana squash belongs to the Cucurbita maxima species like hubbard and buttercup squash. Its peel colour varies from orange, pink and light blue and the inside is a peculiar shade of orange. It has a long structure and can be used to make pie and even soup.
13. Sweet Dumpling
This small squash has a skin coated with cream colour and the ridges are dark green. It looks like a pumpkin but is pressed on the top which gives it a distinct shape. The flesh greenish to orange in colour, has slightly sweet taste and is also soft. This squash is good for baking as it is small in size and can be cooked whole.
14. Eight Balls
This tiny squash variety is a form of zucchini squash and it is preferably eaten young. When they become matured they can be used as vessels or pots, by taking out the seeds, to hold dips and other food items.
15. Gold Rush
Gold Rush squash has elongated structure, and the skin looks velvety with its golden yellow colour. This summer squash has tender peel and flesh, and even the seeds are soft like that of zucchini. The flesh is white and the green stem looks great along with the shiny yellow body.
This summer squash has a waxy skin which is light yellow and the flesh is white. Fortune squash has a slim body with a thinner neck and it grows in huge quantities in the vines.
Cuarzo squash is a summer squash with greyish green skin and looks like the zucchini squash. This is much popular as it grows in plenty and because it can resist diseases, this vegetable allows longer cultivation period.
The parador vine produces squash which are have a velvety yellow colour with small ridges and tilted neck. This summer squash grows fast and they are a treat to the eyes as well as the tongue.
The Sunburst squash or patty pan squash are small and look ornamental with their flowery structure. The sunburst patty pan comes in bright sunny colour as the name suggests and having a buttery taste, it fits into any summer dish. Patty pan squash is also found in light green colour which is also known as white squash.
This has a unique shape and accordingly it is also known as bottle gourd. Calabash has culinary uses when it is young and after it matures, it has a variety of uses like that of a vessel or bottle or pipe. This summer squash has light green skin and ivory white flesh and grows in a climber plant. Among other names, they are also known as long melon or opo squash.
This fall I am on a mission to more familiarize myself with the squash family.
I did not grow up as a squash fan, but I am looking to make up for some lost time.
I am experimenting with different recipes trying to find the best use for each type of squash. Butternuts are the only type I have spend much time with. I have mainly use them in Alton Brown’s recipe for butternut dumplings. Such a good recipe!
In my mission to branch out, I gave Delicata squash a try.
What Is a Delicata Squash
|Appearance||Long yellow squash with green stripes and green spots throughout|
|Other names||Sweet potato squash peanut squash Bohemian squash|
|Nutrition||good source of dietary fiber and potassium|
|Average weight||1 to 2 pounds|
Let me give you just a bit more info on this variety. It has been around for quite a while but feel out of favor as it doesn’t ship as well as other hard squashes.
In recent years I have seen it more and more. Most stores now carry it in the fall season. It’s not available year round like acorn or butternut squash.
Another interesting tidbit is that the Delicata belongs to the same family as the zucchini and yellow crookneck squash. So really it’s a summer squash with the longevity and harvest time of a winter squash. Their size can be eaten like a summer squash or you can choose to peel it.
What to Do with Delicata Squash
The first time we used one we just roasted it in the oven. Then we pureed it and used it as any ingredient for a Sili Squeeze treat for my daughters. Would also work well for baby food purees. They are sweet like a sweet potato, so that may be attractive to kids.
The next time I used one I roasted them again but changed up the technique. I made them into “delicata squash fries” I sliced them into small slices and then made them like I would oven fries.
And we have a winner!
The oven fries turned out fantastic. Later on I learned that you can actually get away without peeling the squash for this recipe. The skin is actually edible when you cook it. You can still peel it if you want, but I love saving the time.
Delicata Squash Oven Fries
Servings 4 Author Eric Samuelson
- 2-3 1 lb Delicata squash
- oilve oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- garlic powder
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
- Peel (or leave the skin on) the squash
- Slice in half.
- Remove seeds (don’t throw them out, save them for roasting)
- Cut squash into 1/2 inch slices
- Place on sheet pan.
- Coat with some olive oil and salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
- Bake in the oven 12-15 minutes, then turn and bake another 12-15 minutes until they have darkened along the edges and soft in the middle
The “fries” in my picture look black around the edges. Don’t worry even if they are dark, they didn’t taste burned even in the slightest. I thought they were perfectly cooked.