A Handy Guide to Winter Squash

Everything you need to know about the It ingredients of the season.

photography by CODY GUILFOYLE


By now, you've probably been privy to the plethora of winter squash readily available at the market. And for as beautiful as they are, it can be difficult to distinguish between each one, much less, determine the various methods for cooking with them. With this in mind, we rounded up a handful of the more common varieties of squash, to help you out this culinary season. Here's what you should know. 

 Food

photography by DOMINO


Acorn Squash: Savory in flavor with subtle sweet notes. When roasting, consider pairing with butter and brown sugar to bring out the breadth of its flavor. Thanks to its cup-like shape, acorn squash is also ideal for stuffing. Here, 23 ways to cook with acorn squash.

Kabocha Squash: Also known as Japanese pumpkin, Kabocha's claim-to-fame lies within its ultra smooth texture and sweet flavor, which is often likened to chestnuts. Indulge via this winter squash carbonara with pancetta and sage or through this kabocha and kale miso sesame soba salad

Red Kuri Squash
Resembling a ridgeless pumpkin, red kuri squash has a slightly nutty flavor with hints of sweetness, which is naturally amplified when cooked. It's also loaded with fiber, and Vitamin A and C. This roasted red kuri pumpkin and coconut soup is a must-try!

photography by PHUONG NGUYEN


Carnival Squash
We'll be the first to admit that we've been privy to using this variety for decoration rather than consumption. Its bold color details and naturally eclectic pattern earmark carnival squash as the ideal element for a fall centerpiece. And for as good as it looks, it tastes equally as delicious. As it's sweeter than butternut squash, it'll be the perfect base for a soup. Try making this sage stuffed carnival squash.

Sweet Dumpling Squash 
Another picture-perfect squash, and true to its name, the sweet dumpling variety definitely skews towards the sweeter spectrum, relative to the other types of the veggie. Try it via this roast sweet dumpling squash recipe with red onion and pumpkin seeds or, even sub it into a sweet potato pie recipe!

Delicata Squash
This low calorie veggie is often dubbed as a "sweet potato squash" hinting at its deceptively sweet taste and versatile flavor. You would be surprised to discover that most cooks even prefer it to butternut squash itself. We're making this hard squash hummus asap.
 
Butternut Squash
Arguably one of the more recognizable in the family, butternut squash is known for its impeccably sweet flavor, which makes it a versatile ingredient in just about any recipe. Here's what we're making: roasted butternut squash and plum salad and roasted butternut squash tartines

photography by CODY GUILFOYLE


While opting to individually roast each squash variety is an option, the less time-consuming alternative would be to group-roast the bunch. Here's how:

Ingredients 

  • Assorted squash
  • Sea salt for roasting base and garnish (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon brown or white sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Whole peppercorns
  • Sprigs of rosemary, thyme, and sage
Begin by preheating the oven to 375F. Cut the smaller squashes into halves, scoop out the seeds, and the larger in four or more pieces, making sure that all of the pieces are of about the same size, to ensure an even roast throughout. 

Drizzle olive oil on top and garnish with the sugar, a teaspoon of salt, and the peppercorns. Nestle the sprigs of herbs in between the pieces of squash for a fragrant touch. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the squash is soft to the touch. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before peeling off the skin. 

photography by CODY GUILFOYLE


From here, you can utilize the squash in recipes ranging from soups to salads, and more. For the sweeter variety—such as butternut squash—you can drizzle the halves with maple syrup and enjoy, directly from the oven. Consider it a healthy alternative to a classic fall dessert. 

photography by CODY GUILFOYLE


Published on October 10, 2017 - 6:05pm EDT

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