Insights

Eating Seasonally—Plated’s Fall and Winter Squash Primer

We’ve put together a handy guide to demystify fall’s favorite veggie.

pumpkin spice hummus, Pringles or gum…) signals the true beginning of fall. At the heart of autumnal cuisine, is the squash, a species in the gourd family, known as “cucurbita,” which has a number of different varieties. But there’s more to squash (and gourds in general) than butternut, spaghetti, and pumpkin. We’ve put together a handy guide to demystify some species of fall’s favorite veggie.

ACORN SQUASH
What is it?
Small and (unsurprisingly) acorn-shaped with vertical grooves all around its sides, acorn squash is dark green when ripe with bright orangey flesh inside.
Flavor and Nutrition:
Sweet, rich, and packed with fiber.
Cooking Tips:
With an edible rind, acorn squash is an easy one to roast in wedges. Also, don’t ignore the seeds: when roasted, they make a tasty snack or a crunchy topping for soups and salads.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH

What is it?
This taupe colored squash comes in a variety of sizes, but always with a long neck and a round, bulbous end.
Flavor and Nutrition:
Earthy and creamy with some sweetness, butternut also has a healthy amount of Vitamins A and C.
Cooking Tips:
Butternut is most often turned into soup, but it’s also terrific for roasting and serving as a side, or pureed for a fall-forward lasagna or risotto.

DELICATA SQUASH
What is it?
Also known as peanut squash and Bohemian squash, this Native American-introduced variety is cream colored with light green stripes and marking and can be round or cylindrical.
Flavor and Nutrition:
The thin-skinned delicata has a similar taste profile to butternut, with a creamy texture and sweet richness. It’s full of Vitamin A and fiber, low in carbohydrates, and great for digestion.
Cooking Tips:
Slice thick wedges of delicata and roast in the oven, or for a super-autumnal presentation, cut in half, roast, and fill with a grain salad.

KABOCHA SQUASH
What is it?
Usually round and dark green in color with some slight white markings and bright orange flesh, the Kabocha squash, or “Japanese pumpkin” (which was actually brought to Asia by the Portuguese) can also be bright orange or dark red.
Flavor and Nutrition:
Kabocha is extremely sweet with a nutty, slightly smoky taste. It’s got heaps of beta carotene, iron and vitamins.
Cooking Tips:
Kabocha has exploded onto the scene in recent years, and is a very versatile squash that’s equally good in desserts and in savory dishes like soup or curry.

PUMPKIN
What is it?
If you’re reading this, my guess is that you’ve seen a pumpkin—that round, orange, Halloween staple.
Flavor and Nutrition:
Cooked pumpkin has a sweet, earthy taste and a creamy texture. It’s also a great source of Vitamin A.
Cooking Tips:
Pumpkin pie and soup are fall favorites, but try stuffing a pumpkin with bread, cheese, herbs, and some cream, and roasting it for a decadent and impressive fall appetizer served with bread for spreading.

BLUE HUBBARD
What is it?
With hard, blue-grey skin and a knobbly outer texture, blue hubbard’s aren’t the most attractive. This orange-fleshed squash originated in South America over 4,000 ago and was first cultivated in North America by Native Americans.
Flavor and Nutrition:
Dense, sweet, and nutty, it has plenty of Vitamin A and boasts anti-inflammatory properties.
Cooking Tips:
The blue hubbard is best steamed or baked, and pairs well with a little maple syrup or brown sugar.

TURBAN SQUASH
What is it?
This heirloom squash, also known as “Turk’s Turban” is one of the most original-looking, with a round pumpkin-like bottom and a domed greenish top.
Flavor and Nutrition:
Similar to butternut squash and pumpkin.
Cooking Tips:
This thick-skinned squash makes for a delicious soup—carve out the flesh and seeds, and serve the soup inside.

x

On the List?

Subscribe to Plated's Newsletter

Thanks for signing up!

There was an error signing you up.
Please check that your email is valid. Try again