There’s something about cooking (and decorating!) with squash that can really make your home feel like fall. We all know about using pumpkins to make a delicious pie or festive jack-o’-lantern, but what about those other types of squash you can find in abundance in our produce aisles? Check out our fall guide to squash to see what you can do with the many varieties we offer.
Eat the Skin!
Kabocha: This winter squash originated in Japan, and has a green skin and orange flesh with a flavor that’s a cross between pumpkin and sweet potato. Kabocha squash is great roasted, steamed or baked, and can be cooked with or without the skin. It holds its shape well when cooked, so try cubing it and adding to gratins, risottos, curries or pasta.
Acorn Squash: This squash gets its name from its acorn-like shape, and has green skin and pale yellow-orange flesh. You can tell an acorn squash is ripe when an orange spot forms on the underside of the skin where the squash sat on the ground. Acorn squash has a sweet, nutty flavor and a lower starch content than other winter squash, making it delicious when sprinkled with some brown sugar and baked.
Delicata: These small- to medium-sized squash feature a pale yellow base color with green and sometimes orange vertical stripes on their skin. Their flesh has a flavor similar to a sweet potato, with a firm texture and central seed cavity. Delicata squash can be sliced into rings or cubes and braised, stewed, sautéed or roasted—and, as a bonus, they keep well at room temperature for several weeks!
Don’t Eat the Skin!
Pie Pumpkin: Also known as sugar pie pumpkin, this is one of the sweetest varieties of squash. It has a smooth, orange skin, as well as bright orange flesh that cooks down to a smooth consistency (which is why it’s so great for pie). These pumpkins are most commonly used for baking, but you can also hollow them out and stuff them as you would an acorn squash (just don’t eat the skin). You can also cube and roast sugar pie pumpkins for an excellent side dish, or slice them into wedges and toss them on the grill.
Butternut: These large, pear-shaped squash have cream-colored skin with deep orange flesh and a sweet and nutty flavor. These versatile squash are often pureed into soup, but they’re also good for stewing, steaming, grilling or braising (and the seeds are also great roasted). Butternut squash pairs well with other hearty fall flavors, including sage, thyme, bay leaf, apple, cinnamon, pear, shallots, pecans, sausage and bacon. Try our Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce recipe!
Spaghetti Squash: This large, oval squash with smooth, yellow skin is best known for its pale yellow flesh that separates into long strings that resemble noodles. With its mild flavor, spaghetti squash makes the perfect low-carb substitute for angel hair pasta, and it’s one of the only types of squash that’s good when eaten raw. It can also be roasted or steamed and added to soups or stews. Try our Spaghetti Squash Spring Rolls recipe!
Eat with Caution!
Turban: Turban squash gets its name from the turban-like cap at the blossom end, and ranges in color from mottled green to orange and yellow. Technically you can eat turban squash, but they’re not the easiest to prep, with a super-thick, tough skin and very large seeds. Many people choose to use them exclusively for decoration. If you do decide to eat a turban squash, make sure you have a good, sharp knife to cut away the thick skin, and bake, roast or steam them before eating. They have a mild flavor and floury texture, so they’re best when added to soups or stews.