Secrets to 7 Winter Squashes You May Not Know
We have a fall tradition in our family to hunt for the most colorful, strangest, and ugliest gourds and squash that we can find. The shapes, sizes, and colors that each one comes in fascinates, humors, and connects us.
We will visit grocery stores and farms and on each trip we bring them home, add our homegrown pumpkins, and butternut squashes to the mix and create a beautiful fall décor display filled with shades of green, yellows, and oranges.
I am pretty sure we are not alone in decorating our home with the plunders of fall squashes. Maybe your family does not hunt for the strangest or ugliest, but whatever attracts you has lead you to use them has a natural fall decoration in your home.
The Hidden Secret
The hidden secret is that winter squashes do not just make great decorations, but make some amazing mouth-watering meals with flavors similar to chestnuts, and sweet potatoes. Maybe right now, placed in the middle of your table is a great meal waiting to happen that you never thought to make before. If you don’t have them lying around, this time of year they are easy to get your hands on, and so cost effective that these squashes secret potential will surprise you.
Here are secrets to seven different winter squashes that you may not know.
- Blue Hubbard SquashYou might have added this one in your fall basket of decor because of the unique texture the bumpy skin provides or the gray-blue color skin. The skin also has a hardness to it that allows it to be a great choice for lasting through the winter and is great for storing.
Blue hubbard squash are known for being large in size, but the smaller ones are better for home cooking. The sweetness of the flesh will surprise and will make you want more. This squash amazing bight orange flesh, tastes great cooked, and then added to salad to make entrees like Autumn Squash Salad.
- Butternut SquashButternut squash has the unique shape with a slim neck and a round bottom giving it a bell shape. Underneath the yellow-tan color skin is a bright orange–yellow flesh with a somewhat sweet taste. Butternut squash soup has to be one of my family’s favorites and a must have fall meal.
Cut a butternut squash down the middle long ways, and bake in the oven for an hour. The squash is ready once you can easily poke the flesh with a fork. For easier handling, you can cut the bottom from the top and work with each section separately. Add the flesh to a blender and puree. Butternut squash is so good that you could add some cream and call it a day or add some browned butter, and some roasted vegetables. This soup screams fall and flavor and before you know it you will be licking the bottom of the bowl.
- Spaghetti SquashThe first time I discovered spaghetti squash was when my family was trying a gluten free diet. I wanted a noodle substitute, and little did I know that the spaghetti squash would soon be a family favorite.
Once baked, the texture almost seems magical. Take fork and pull out the stringy flesh that looks noodle like. The taste of the spaghetti squash has sweetness and is perfect with any noodle recipe. If you are a noodle fan, don’t worry about substituting your noodles, but adding it in as a side dish, or just serve straight. The sweet taste and fun texture will make your kids beg for more.
- Sugar Pie PumpkinGrowing up, winning bragging rights to finding the largest pumpkin in the patch was the goal. As an adult, I now know where the true prize belongs – the smaller cute pumpkins.
Sugar pie pumpkins are the ones that are best to cook with as they are best known for their classic pumpkin flavor. Cut one open and find thick orange flesh waiting to be pureed. Make your own homemade pumpkin pie, or make some pancakes and make sure to roast those seeds for a tasty snack.
- Acorn Squash The acorn shaped squash is another beautiful squash that makes for great decoration, but holds a wonder of flavor underneath that green skin. When choosing an acorn squash you want to make sure you pick the ones with a green rind.
Cut an acorn squash in half, add butter and brown sugar, and bake in the over for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the flesh is soft. You will be creating a super easy, but ever so tasty fall treat. Another way to use an acorn squash is to create a dish and then bake inside the squash shell similar to a stuffed pepper, you are making stuffed acorn squash. For an amazing recipe, please see Stuffed Squash on the Food Network.
- Kabocha SquashAmazingly, the local apple orchard was handing kabocha squash out for free. My kids who love use anything to decorate and wanted to grab a bunch. We were not sure what to do with them at first. So we decided they would be a great choice for our gourd painting craft.
Little did we know that there was a great meal lying underneath all that red and paint. “Kabocha” is the Japanese word for squash. This squash has an earthy flavor with both a sweet and nutty taste. Check out this awesome meal for a Kabocha Cake with brown sugar cream.
- Calabaza Squash
This large winter squash resembles the pumpkin. In fact, it can be used similar to pumpkins or even replacing pumpkin in cooking for stews, cakes, and even candies. The taste is smooth and sweet.While the flesh of any squash gets most the attention, you might be surprised to know that you can use the squash blossoms for cooking too. In fact, it is used as an ingredient in this quesadilla recipe.
Sometimes cooking and growing vegetables includes trying new tastes and textures and vegetables. The next time you are in the grocery store, be bold and pick up that bright yellow spaghetti squash, or that strange shaped butternut squash and let yourself be amazed at the potential that they possess. An additional amazing benefit is that you can grown these squashes in your own home garden.
Over to You
Do you cook with squashes? What one is your favorite? We would love to hear your thoughts.