Varieties we grow and love: It is good to note that winter squashes are really just a designation for squashes harvested late in the season, generally with thicker skin, cured and able to be stored. All the squashes are cucurbits (also cucumbers, melons…) Many of the squashes are even the same species, so we tend to categorize them by form/appearance.
- Acorn- dark green/black skin, golden yellow flesh, yes, shaped like ribbed acorns. Perfect for halving and baking. The delicata, dumplings and spaghetti squashes are all the same species! So are pumpkins! So are summer squashes!
- Butternut- pale tan skin, orange flesh, elongated neck with seed cavity in the bulbous part
- Honeynut- basically a baby butternut
- Buttercup- dark green skin, sometimes with gray stripes, squatty turban shape with golden flesh. Drier than butternut
- Carnival- Multicolored sweet dumpling with white, green and orange stripes and flecks, yellow flesh
- Delicata- yellow and green striped skin, cylindrical, yellow flesh. Very sweet.
- Hubbard- Most widely known is the Blue Hubbard, but also comes in red, orange, gray and green flavor. Flesh is always yellow-gold. Generally huge, elongated top-shape, but we grow a baby Hubbard that is easier to deal with. These are best after storage as they sweeten up with the starches converting to sugars.
- Jarradale- beautiful pearly-blue skin, pumpkin shape, bright orange to red flesh, very smooth texture cooked
- Kabocha- sisters to the buttercup squash, some looking very pumpkin-like can have blue, gray, black or bright red skin, deep orange flesh. Wonderful smooth, creamy flesh. Our favorites are the Sunshine (bright red), Speckled Pup (gray and black mini kabocha), black kabocha
- Kuri- Orange or red skinned, bright orange very smooth textured flesh, great for pies and purees. These tear shaped squash could be considered a baby red hubbard and is the same species.
- Spaghetti- Yellow melon shape with yellow flesh, When cooked, scrape the flesh out with a fork to make strands of spaghetti. Also be aware that canary and crenshaw melons look very similar – smelling them should help make the distinction. Please cut in half before cooking if you are unsure 😉
- Sweet Dumpling- squat acorn shape, creamy yellow skin with green stripes. Basically a single serving size of Delicata
- Triamble- beautiful gray-blue, ribbed skin, triangular pumpkin shape
Not sure what you’ve got? Check out the “pumpkin page” too.
Enjoy this nutrition packed vegetable: high in carotenoids, winter squash if a perfect source of alpha and beta-carotenes, lutein, and several other carotenoids for helath support
Unlike my boilerplate comment about fresh produce, winter squashes are most delicious after reaching full maturity and curing for a while. Once cured, store at 50-60 degrees with good circulation. Check weekly and use immediately if you find any soft spots. If you have cut one open or prepped for cooking, be sure to store wrapped in the fridge.
All the winter squashes freeze perfectly if in a fully cooked, whether mashed, cubed or in a recipe. I make a lot of puree every year and freeze for sides, soups, pies and muffins. Pumpkins
– can be enjoyed in:
- classic side dish of pureed squash
- baked either in halves or slices
- all sorts of baking
Tips for preparing: I cannot stress enough how careful you must be when working with hard vegetables. Please be sure to stabilize any rolling squashes and not keep your fingers where the knife with cut them if the squash rolls. If I need my butternut halved the long way, I hold onto the long neck part, piercing the flesh halfway down, cutting through the entire bulbous part, then I turn it around and holding onto the bulbous end, cut through the dense neck. If it is all getting cut up, go ahead and cut crosswise to make rings or to stand up on flat end and halve.
you’ll figure it out, it’s not hard, but an awful lot of people hurt themselves or complain about how difficult it is to prep squash…don’t be one of those people;)
Also check out these great recipes: