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Know Your Winter Squash

One of the best things about this time of year is the abundance of gorgeous and delicious winter squash. Unlike their summer counterparts, winter squash have thick, hard skin and seeds; the flesh is firm and requires cooking. Some varieties are available year round, but winter squash are best now through winter. When purchasing squash, look for heavy pieces with blemish free skin and deep colored rinds. Winter squash doesn't need to be refrigerated; store in a cool, dark spot for up to a month. When using a recipe that calls for a certain type of winter squash, be sure to refer to the following glossary. To take a look at it,

Acorn: Found in most supermarkets, this is a dark green variety with subtle chestnut flavors and edible flesh.

Butternut: Easy to find in grocery stores, this is a beige variety with a taste similar to sweet potatoes.

Buttercup: A member of the turban squash family, this dark green variety has a very hard shell with creamy orange flesh.

Carnival: A beautiful variety with orange and green spots. The meat is delicate and similar to butternut squash.

Hubbard: One of the best keeping winter squashes, these are irregularly shaped with warted skin. It's an excellent source of vitamin A and the flesh is best as a seasoned mash or puree.

Kabocha: This jade green squash is also known as the Japanese pumpkin. It has a rich sweet flavor and dry, flaky flesh.

Pumpkin: The most common and popular of the squash family with a sweet, honey flavor.

Spaghetti: Yellow and watermelon shaped; when cooked the meat separates into spaghetti-like strands. When baked whole, the flesh is easy to remove from the rind.

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Join The Conversation
tati33 tati33 9 years
Butternut! yum!
GeikoSera GeikoSera 9 years
Kabocha is my FAVORITE! :)
partysugar partysugar 9 years
cravinsugar: I usually roast spaghetti squash in the oven, drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper and face down on a baking sheet. Peirce the skin as you would a baked potato and bake for about 45 minutes, the flesh should be soft and fall easily off in strands. One of my favorite recipes that I highly recommend is this spaghetti squash and ricotta pizza.
Diana172 Diana172 9 years
Hmm, I obviously didn't know about my squash...
LoneWolf LoneWolf 9 years
I forgot to say that you also can microwave it the same way.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
Yum! I'll have to try one of these soon.
LoneWolf LoneWolf 9 years
I cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, put it in a pan cut side down, put about, eh, a half cup to a cup of water in the pan and cook it at 350 degrees until it's done. You'll know when it's done because it gets very soft.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
How do you bake a spaghettie squash? I tried to put one in oven, but must not have cooked it long enough. It's also hard to get the seeds out without taking away half the flesh. Thanks to you and Yum, Fit, I have been trying diff einter squashes. So far, butternut is my fav, esp in a recipe i saw on here a bit ago. I am not too much of a fan of acorn squash though. Onto the next one! :-)
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