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Guide to Fall & Winter Squash

Characteristics of common varieties and delicious seasonal recipes
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A fall and winter staple, ever-versatile squash lends its dense texture and delicate flavor to everything from pies to sides. Here, you’ll learn the basic characteristics of common varieties and get tips for how to cook them, as well as recipes that highlight their sweet and nutty flavor. To learn more about winter squash, check out this post from our sister site VegetableGardener.com.

  • Kabocha Squash

     A Japanese variety, kabocha squash is medium-sized with a rough, dark-green skin that's sometimes mottled with orange or white stripes. Its starchy yellow-orange flesh has a dense texture and nutty, almost sweet potato-like flavor, highlighted in this Roasted Kabocha & Polenta Torta.
  • Hubbard Squash

    Probably the largest squash at the market, hubbard squash is often sold in chunks, so you can buy only what you need. They have thick skin that ranges from dark green to bluish-gray, and a dense orange flesh that has a rich pumpkin flavor, making this variety perfect for pies like this Brown Sugar Squash Pie.
  • Acorn Squash

    Hard-shelled acorn squash is shaped like its namesake nut. It may have white-gold, warm orange, or dark green skin, but all have the same golden flesh inside. A great for baking and roasting (as in this simple Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash), the flesh cooks up dry and sweet, with a definable but pleasant texture.
  • Butternut Squash

    With its sweet, creamy, dark-orange flesh, and smooth skin, butternut squash is one of the best and most versatile of all the squashes. It takes well to just about every cooking method and pairs well with a wide variety of flavorings including citrus, balsamic vinegar, sharp cheeses, herbs, and bacon, as in this full-bodied Butternut Rissotto with Bacon & Sage.
  • Delicata Squash

    Delicata squash has yellow or cream-color skin with dark-green stripes. Delicatas have moist flesh that tastes like a combination of roasted corn and lemon zest; their flavor becomes richer when roasted or sautéed. It’s sweet flavor makes it a natural side for pork and turkey.
  • Pumpkin

    Small, volleyball-size, thin-skinned, burnt-orange sugar pie pumpkins are probably the most commonly found baking pumpkins. They have sweet, smooth flesh that tends to be firm and dry, so they’re especially good for pies and other pumpkin desserts like this Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake.
  • Spaghetti Squash

    Named for the crisp spaghetti-like strands of their cooked flesh, football-sized spaghetti squash are more about texture than flavor. Once cooked, they make an unexpected ingredient in salads or a great stand-in for spaghetti, as in the Beef Ragù Over Spaghetti Squash.
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