8 seasonal squash varieties you should get to know

Families come in all shapes and sizes — and squash is no exception. 

Long, short, fat and lean, there are literally dozens of unique squash varieties, making them one of the most delicious and versatile vegetables of the season. Harvested in the fall, most squash can be used throughout the winter, as they keep for months in cool, dry environments. As such, squash is a staple of fall and winter Sun Basket recipes, and one that we encourage you to explore more and cook at home.

Here’s a little primer to help you get to know this motley crew and maybe make a better decision when out at the grocery store or farmer’s market this season. 

Acorn

Shaped like its namesake, acorn squash is the green and orange variety that’s great for roasting and frying. When halved for roasting, it makes the perfect natural bowl for all sorts of fillings, such as quinoa or soup. As a plus, the skin is also edible.

Butternut

Probably the most popular of the squash family, butternut is one of the easiest to handle, with a slim neck and bulbous bottom that give it its distinctive shape. It’s actually the sweetest variety of winter squash, which might be why it’s a fam favorite. 

Carnival

This squash, identified by its pale yellow, green an orange shades and vertical stripes, is ready to party. With a yellow flesh that’s reminiscent of sweet potatoes, carnival squash is the most delicious when steamed, pureed and added to soups.

Delicata

Known for it’s long pinstripes and edible pale skin, delicata squash is an heirloom variety that’s popular for its ease of cooking and creamy flavor and texture. Delicata can be popped in the oven with a little bit of oil and salt for roasting and eaten whole. 

Hubbard

Weighing an average of 8 to 20 pounds, this is the big guy of the squash family. While they have a tough, nubby exterior, the flesh inside is both savory and sweet. Because of its higher sugar content, hubbard squash is best when mashed or pureed for things like pie filling and cakes.

Kambocha

Small with greenish and orange tints, Kambocha is the Japanese cousin of the squash family. It just made its first appearance in the U.S. market a couple years back, where its popularity has quickly grown due to its nuttiness, sweetness and almost fiberless texture. It can be baked, steamed or fried. However, it’s best used pureed to give buttery richness to soups and dips.

Pumpkin

Best know as an ornamental around halloween, pumpkin squash is actually delicious to eat. It’s thick, but tender inside and can be eaten in slabs right out of the oven or cut up and fried in a little oil to be made into a dip.

Spaghetti

This squash has become the queen of low-carb diets as of late, as its stringy flesh is reminiscent of pasta and can therefore be used to make grain-free dishes that resemble the real thing. It’s the large, oval yellow one that has a mild, nutty flavor inside.

Happy cooking,
-Renee, Test Kitchen Team