Winter Squash Variety Guide

pumpkins and squashes top view

In the fall and winter months, there is no shortage of hard squash to pique your fancy and delight your tastebuds. Available in all shapes and sizes, hard squash is versatile, delicious and very nutritious. They are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, fiber, Magnesium, and potassium. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting varieties available this season!

Acorn Squash

Photo: specialtyproduce.com

Acorn Squash

Taste: Sweet, mildly buttery flavor.

Color: Ridged skin can vary in color from dark green to white with patches of orange. Pale yellow/orange flesh on the inside.

Uses: Great for roasting and stuffing. Once roasted, the skin is soft and edible or can easily be separated from the flesh.

Shelf Life: 2 months

 

Angel Hair Spaghetti Squash
Photo: DP Seeds

Angel Hair Spaghetti Squash

Taste: mild, neutral sweet flavor.

Color: bright yellow skin and thin slightly crunchy strands of pasta-like squash inside.

Uses: Roast and shred the flesh to add to your favorite sauce!

Size: Smaller in size than a regular spaghetti squash; 1.5 – 2 pounds each (think personal size spaghetti squash!)

Shelf Life: 3 months

 

Black Futsu Squash

Black Futsu Squash

Taste: Sweet and slightly nutty flavor with smooth, creamy texture.

Color: Deeply ribbed, bumpy skin that changes from deep black-green to a warm orange buff color as it grows.

Uses: Great roasted, fried in tempura, pureed in pies or soups, or pickled. The skin is edible!

Size: Small squash variety, ranging from the size of a grapefruit to about three times that size.

Shelf Life: 4 – 5 months

 

Buttercup Squash

Photo: tasteofhome.com

Buttercup Squash

Taste: Sweet, creamy flavor with firm texture; considered one of the sweetest winter squash varieties. Seeds can be roasted like pumpkin seeds!

Color: Dark green with light-green stripes and a distinctive round ridge on the bottom. Flesh is bright orange.

Uses: Flesh tends to be drier, so steaming and baking are the best methods for cooking. Good sub for Acorn squash.

Shelf Life: 3 – 6 months

 

Butterkin Squash

Photo: The Packer

Butterkin Squash

Taste: Deliciously sweet and smooth in texture with large pumpkin-like seeds.

Color: Smooth, cream-colored skin of a butternut and the round ridged shaped of a pumpkin. Inside is dark orange flesh that captures essence of both parents.

Uses: Versatile for savory preparations—roasted, baked, steamed, spiraled, soups galore!

Shelf Life: 6 months

 

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash

Taste: Sweet, nutty and earthy flavor with texture that is softer than a roasted sweet potato.

Color: Creamy beige skin with golden-yellow flesh.

Uses: Extremely versatile & popular; lends itself to roasting, pureeing, mashing, and soup.

Shelf Life: 1 – 3 months

Carnival squash

Photo: Specialty Produce

Carnival Squash

Hybrid of sweet dumpling and acorn squash.

Taste: Slightly nutty, buttery, and sweet with nuances of maple syrup.

Color: Cream-colored skin with variegated spots and stripes of white, orange, yellow, and green, depending on maturity level. The flesh is firm and dense.

Uses: Wonderful substitute for butternut or acorn squash in recipes.

Shelf Life: 1 – 3 months

 

Delicata Squash

Photo: ProduceGeek.com

Delicata Squash

Taste: Reminiscent of fresh corn and pumpkin pie with rich creamy texture.

Color: Yellow in color with green stripes and spotting along ribs.

Uses: Great for roasting and stuffing. Named for its delicate, edible skin; no peeling needed!

Shelf Life: 1.5 months

 

Georgia Candy Roaster

Georgia Candy Roaster Squash

Taste: Sweet, pumpkin-like flavor that is slightly nutty, and deepens the longer it’s stored.

Color: Smooth, semi-thin skin, covered in shallow striations. Flesh is yellow-orange, fine-grained, and crisp. It starts off light yellow and matures to an orangey-beige color with interesting blue-green streaks at the flower end.

Uses: Highly versatile. Good in pies, soups, bisques, butters and baked goods.

Shelf Life: 5 months

Size: Typical ones grow 12 – 18 inches, but they can grow up to three feet!

 

Honeynut Squash

Honeynut Squash

Hybrid of butternut and buttercup squash.

Taste: Flavorful, sweet and nutty, with a hint of caramel and malt.

Color: Zucchini-green when young, then turns orange as it ripens. The flesh is a deep orange color.

Uses: Versatile squash that can be roasted, pureed, steamed, mashed, stuffed and more. The skin is thin and edible (no peeling!) Great substitute for Delicata squash!

Shelf Life: 1 month

Hubbard Squash

Hubbard Squash

Taste: Rich, sweet pumpkin flavor.

Color: Large, thick, bumpy skin that ranges in color from bright orange to deep green. Yellow-orange flesh.

Uses: Best for puree or pie filling.

Shelf Life: 5 – 6 months

 

Jarahdale Squash

Photo: rareseeds.com

Jarahdale Squash

Hybrid of the Cinderella pumpkin and the Blue Hubbard squash.

Taste: Sweet flavor; flesh is thick, fine-textured.

Color: Attractive blue-gray colored skin with beautiful golden-orange flesh.

Uses: Stands out in savory dishes, roasted, or in a stew, due to the not stringy flesh that holds its shape when cooked. Also great for sweet applications like pies or purely for decoration!

Shelf Life: 3 months

jester squash

Photo: Mountain Harvest Organics

Jester Squash

Taste: Similar to Acorn squash, firm and nutty.

Color: Oval in shape with green and orange ribs.

Uses: Thin skinned, best for stuffing and roasting.

Shelf Life: 1-2 months

Squash - Kabocha

Kabocha Squash

Taste: Sweet, nutty flavor, like sweet potato mixed with pumpkin. Fluffy texture similar to roasted chestnut.

Color: Can be dark green or bright orange; bright yellow-orange flesh inside.

Uses: Roasted, steamed, fried in tempura, soups or used as a substitute for pumpkin in pie. The thick skin is edible and easy to remove when cooked.

Shelf Life: 1 – 2 months

Squash - Orangetti

Photo: specialtyproduce.com

Orangetti Squash

Taste: Mild, sweet, and nutty flavor. Similar to spaghetti squash in texture—the fibrous flesh becomes tender, pasta like strands when cooked.

Color: Orange exterior with pale yellow to dark orange flesh.

Uses: Roast and pair with any sauce as a noodle or pasta substitute.

Shelf Life: 3 months

 

Red Kuri Squash

Red Kuri Squash

Taste: Full flavored; has sweet nuttiness reminiscent of chestnuts.

Color: Teardrop shaped with distinctive orange skin and golden flesh.

Uses: Roasting, baking, steamed, stir-fried and stuffed, endless possibilities!

Shelf Life: 3 months

Squash - Koginut

 

Robin’s Koginut Squash

Hybrid between Butternut and Kabocha squash.

Taste: Buttery, mildly sweet, nutty flavor with notes of citrus and vanilla. Silky, creamy, sensationally tender consistency when cooked (think creamsicle!)

Color: ripens from dark green to tan when mature. Flesh is bright orange.

Uses: Can be prepared any number of ways but roasting brings out this squash’s deliciously creamy flavor. The skin is edible and can be left on.

Shelf Life: 3 months

 

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

Taste: Very mild, almost neutral flavor.

Color: Brilliant yellow skin and pale yellow pasta-like strands inside.

Uses: Roasting softens the flesh; use a fork to separate the strands and pair with your favorite sauce.

Shelf Life: 3 months

 

Starry Night Squash

Starry Night Squash

Taste: Buttery, nutty, just the right amount of sweetness; notes of caramel. Smoother consistency than traditional acorn squash.

Color: Dark green skin with unique speckled color pattern.

Uses: Great for roasting and stuffing; skin is edible.

Shelf Life: 3 months

sweet Dumpling Squas

Photo: SpecialtyProduce.com

Sweet Dumpling

Taste: Sweet, mild flavor. The flesh is light and tender and the skin is edible.

Color: The thin skin has a cream-colored base, with vertical lines that are green, yellow, or orange – depending on maturity. Light orange to gold flesh.

Uses: Perfect for stuffing and roasting!

Shelf Life: 1 – 2 months

 

Tetsukabuto Squash

Tetsukabuto Squash

Taste: Earthy flavor has rich notes of hazelnut and browned butter.

Color: Dark green skin appearing almost black. Flesh is golden yellow.

Uses: Roasting, fried in tempura, baked in bread, soup and more!

Shelf Life: 3 months

Valenciano Pumpkin

Photo: specialtyproduce.com

Valenciano Pumpkin

Taste: Sweet, earthy flavor similar to a traditional pumpkin.

Color: Beautiful creamy snow-white skin and thick orange flesh.

Uses: Ideal for pies and decoration.

Shelf Life: 1-3 months

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