Discover the most common types of winter squash and get recipes for preparing them.
When selecting winter squash, choose firm squash with no visible blemishes or soft spots. Store in a dry, cool spot (but not the refrigerator) and use within a month or so.
As you might expect, the shape of this popular winter squash resembles an enormous acorn. It has orange flesh and a ribbed skin that’s green fading to orange. It is often prepared simply: sliced in half, baked with a little butter or olive oil, and eaten straight from its bowl-like shell. You can also roast, braise, and steam acorn squash.
- VIDEO: Acorn Squash
- Acorn Squash
- Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squash
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Pale yellow (almost cream colored) on the outside with somewhat sweet, orange flesh, butternut are a large winter squash with smooth but thick skin. Popular ways to prepare butternut squash include baking, simmering, braising, and steaming.
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Thin and pale yellow with telltale green striping, delicata squash have a tasty yellow flesh that is typically prepared by baking, frying, braising, or steaming. Also called “sweet potato squash,” they are rich in potassium, iron, and vitamins A and C. Look for them from late summer through the fall.
A popular squash for boiling and mashing or pureeing, hubbard squash are very big with a thick shell that’s bumpy and ranges in color from bright orange to deep green. The yellow-orange flesh, meanwhile, can be a bit grainy. Hubbard squash are rich in vitamin A and also have solid amounts of iron and riboflavin.
It’s called “spaghetti squash” because, when cooked, the golden flesh separates out like strings of spaghetti. These pale yellow squash have a hard, smooth shell and are at their peak in early fall through the winter, though you can find them year-round. Spaghetti squash are commonly prepared in casseroles or baked whole (like a potato) and then the flesh separated into spaghetti-like strands and served with sauces.
- VIDEO: Spaghetti Squash I
- Spaghetti Squash I
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Often quite colorful, turban squash are also short and squat with a distinctive turban-like protuberance at the top. Because of their unusual look, they are popular as decorative squash. But you can also bake, steam, or simmer turban squash. Buttercup squash are a popular variety.