Varieties of Winter Squash
Cold weather introduces a whole new range of superb vegetables suitable to any table, whether the meal is formal or rustic. Our Winter Squash Reference Guide offers an excellent resource to help you select the right ones for your cooking. Some varieties are technically pumpkins.
BANANA: Long, cylindrical shape with pointed ends. Somewhat wrinkled skin. Pale orange to creamy white shell. Hearty squash flavor. Microwave quarters in a little water, covered, on high power for about 12 minutes. Microwave 1″ cubes the same way for about 6 minutes. Let stand 5 min. after cooking.
BUTTERCUP: Dark green with grayish stripes or flecks. Shape is a flattened round with a turban shape on top. Orange flesh. Weights 3 to 5 lbs. Some what dry but sweet meat. Place halves cut side down in dish with 1/4 cup water, cover and Microwave on high for 8-11 minutes. Test for doneness, if nearly done, cover and let stand for 5-10 minutes. before serving. Cook chunks as for Banana squash. This squash takes well to glazing after baking, also mashing and pureeing for other dishes.
BUTTERNUT (AFRICAN BELL): Large cylindrical shape, tan color. Squash has bulbous end. Deep orange flesh. Sweet, rich squash flavor. See Banana squash. Good stuffed or glazed like sweet potatoes.
DELICATA (SWEET POTATO, BOHEMIAN SQUASH): Has elongated shape with longitudinal grooves. Green and tan-striped skin. Very tender yellow flesh. Mild, slightly sweet, corn-like flavor. Microwave rings or chunks in 1/4 cup water, in a covered dish about 5-7 minutes; let stand 5 minutes, or, place halves cut side up in covered dish with 1/4 cup water, cook 7-10 min. rotating once. Let stand 5 minutes.
GOLDEN NUGGET: Small orange round; hard shell with ridges. Resembles a tiny pumpkin. Slightly sweet, true squash flavor. Cook as for Buttercup squash. Enjoy with butter and a bit of brown sugar, or stuffed with meat mixtures or cheeses, or poultry stuffing.
HUBBARD: Skin can be golden, blue-gray, or green in color. Golden Hubbard is salmon-orange. Usually rounded at the center and tapered at ends. Sweet, rich squash flavor. Cook as Banana squash. Glaze, or puree for use in other dishes (if texture is not watery). Also good mixed with poultry stuffing.
KABOCHA: A Japanese variety of squash with a pale green-gray shell; flattened ball shapes. Golden flesh, rich squash flavor. Cook as for Buttercup squash. Takes well to stuffings, glazes and mashed or pureed mixtures.
MEDITERRANEAN: It looks like a jumbo Butternut, but internal texture resembles that of Spaghetti squash. Sweet flavored. Cook as for Delicata squash. Bake and stuff with vegetables or cheese. Pulp is sweet enough for pies.
SPAGHETTI: Between a winter and summer squash, with a semi-soft bright yellow shell and stringy yellow interior that separates into spaghetti like strands when cooked. Sweet, mild, crunchy flavor. Cook as for Delicata squash. Then take two forks and scrape interior it will separate into “spaghetti”. Excellent with a white or tomato sauce, or tossed with butter and herbs. Blend into stir fry mixtures or chill the leftovers to toss into a salad.
SWEET DUMPLING: A small pumpkin-shaped squash, with a streaked white and green- colored hard shell. Orange-yellow flesh. Naturally sweet-tasting flesh. Cook as for Buttercup squash. Excellent for just one or two servings. The shell is hollow enough to hold stuffing for one. Stuff, with cooked dried fruit or apples, top with cheese and nuts and run under the broiler.
TABLE QUEEN, GREEN AND GOLD (ACORN, DESMOINES, DANISH): Acorn-shaped with green to yellow-gold skin, with deep furrows. Yellowish flesh. Sweet-tasting, somewhat dry. Peel after cooking, the cooked skin is easier to peel. The flesh takes well to sweet or nutty glazes or stuffings.
TURBAN: Usually a bright orange color. Shape is a flattened round base with three knobs on top, striped with cream, green or white. Rich squash flavor. Cook as for Banana squash. Takes well to any kind of stuffing. Also makes a colorful table decoration or fall arrangement.