An A to Z guide to choosing, storing, preparing, and cooking fresh produce and recipe ingredients.

  • Types of Squash

    Acorn  

    Shaped like its namesake, this small, dark green, orange, or buff-colored squash has a ribbed rind and a moist yellow or orange interior that is loaded with fiber.

    Butternut

    One of the most common winter squash, this foot-long, bell-shaped variety has thin, butterscotch-colored skin and sweet, nutty flesh.

    Calabaza 
     

    Long popular in the Caribbean, calabaza squash (also called West Indian pumpkin) has a sweet, juicy golden orange flesh similar in taste and texture to butternut squash.

    Delicata

    Also called sweet potato squash because of its creamy flavor and texture, delicata squash resembles a giant, fat cucumber (it typically weighs 1 to 2 pounds) and has pale yellow skin and dark green pinstripes.

    Hubbard

    One of the largest winter varieties, Hubbard squash typically weighs 8 to 20 pounds and range in color from orange to grayish blue.

    Kabocha

    This pumpkin-shaped Japanese squash (typically 2 to 3 pounds) is fairly new to the U.S. market but has caught on quickly due to its subtle, honeyed sweetness and smooth, almost fiberless texture.

    Sugar Pumpkin

    Small sugar pumpkins have a mellow sweetness and dense flesh that’s perfect for autumn baking.

    Spaghetti

    This oval yellow squash contains a surprise: a stringy flesh that, when cooked, separates into mild-tasting, spaghetti-like strands.

    How to Choose Winter Squash
    Look for a winter squash that feels heavy for its size, with a rind that appears slightly dusty (the glossy exterior dulls as it ripens). The skin should be hard and unyielding when pressed firmly with a thumb; avoid anything with blemishes or soft or discolored spots. Examine the stem carefully. Make sure it is solid and dry and looks withered. If it appears moist, blackened, or at all squishy, the squash is past its prime. A winter squash without a stem is more susceptible to rot and probably won’t keep long.

  • How to Store Winter Squash
    Uncut, most varieties will last for up to 3 months at room temperature. Don’t keep a squash in the refrigerator, which is too moist and will hasten decay. Cut squash should be tightly wrapped and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

    Melinda Page

  • How To: Prepare Spaghetti Squash

    Getting those delicious strands of spaghetti squash is easier than you may think.

     

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