I love researching, hunting down and analyzing different varieties of foods. Heirloom tomatoes are a hot topic in the summer but in the fall and winter I love squash and potato varieties.
A pumpkin or a squash? What’s the difference?
To be official, pumpkins are actually a type of squash and come from the Cucurbitaceae family (gourds are also included in this family). So if you call it a squash, you technically can’t go wrong!
There are so many varieties of squash but most people are only familiar with butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash. I’ve only photographed a few here, but there are so many more out there so go out and try them!
To learn how to roast up & make a puree out of large cooking pumpkins, check out my post here.
This variety is great for using in pies!
Great for a “low carb” option to spaghetti. You can scoop out the “noodles” raw and boil them but I prefer roasting it whole (poke a few holes in it!) or cut in half and roast it and removing the “noodles” afterwards. I’ve tried out both methods and have found that this one is not only easier, but also holds onto more flavor.
Very sweet with edible flesh and tender skin (and my personal favorite!). For a recipe using delicata squash, give this Lentil Stew with Delicata Squash or Quinoa and Cranberry Stuffed Delicata Squash a try!
Great for baking or using in pies- this squash has medium sweetness.
A variety many people are familiar with this one is sweet and is typically peeled before chopping into cubes and used in soups, stews and risottos.
Sweet Dumpling (Carnival) Squash:
This variety is very sweet and great for stuffing.
More savory with a slightly nutty flavor- this one is great for stuffing.
Red Kuri (Orange Hokkaido):
Very sweet with edible skin.
Very sweet with edible skin, this variety is often used in Japanese cuisine and desserts. For a delicious recipe using kabocha, try my Hearty Black Garlic and Kabocha Stew!
This pumpkin is usually huge but is great for pies. To pick out the best one, try to find one that is pale orange. If it is still green, it isn’t quite ready yet!
With any squash, if it’s new or I’m in doubt about what to do with it, I usually slice in in half, scoop out the seeds (chop it into quarters if necessary) add a little oil to it and cook it at 425° for some period of time until I can poke easily into it with a knife or fork. Then it’s time to nom nom away!