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Sonoma County Gazette
Squash Indentification

Identifying Winter Squash

Sep 28, 2017


by Kelly Smith 

With October's arrival we welcome squash season. For this month's article as I researched squash I realized there are so many options; from pumpkin to delicata to butternut to spaghetti squash. It seems a comprehensive list of varieties for winter squash to look for at the farmers' markets while you are shopping.

Kabocha- This winter squash type also known as Japanese pumpkin. This has a number of varieties such as Cutie, Emiguri, Ajihei, Miyako and Ebisu. Kabocha has a dark green colored skin and has a shape similar to a pumpkin. The peel is hard and inside it is orange-yellow. 

Acorn- In color and texture, it is similar to kabocha, but its shape is elongated. Acorn squash is known by different names as Des Moines squash or pepper squash. The ridges are distinct and even though it is a winter squash, it has similarities to the summer squash variety.

Delicata- The Delicata squash has a tender skin and probably this is the reason behind the name. It has a creamy color skin with green striped lines along the ridges. Because of the delicate skin this is hard to store for a long time. Also known as Bohemian squash, peanut squash and sweet potato squash, this used in cooking and resembles the summer squash, even though it is eaten as a winter one. 

Butternut-This vegetable is associated with pumpkin as it tastes like it. The interior is orange and the outer cover looks rough yellow, which darkens as it grows. Sweet in taste is great in soups. 

Hubbard- Great used as pie stuffing or in soups and has a wide range of vibrant rind colors like orange and gray, and within it is yellow. This winter squash can have a durability of around 6-months if stored well. It weighs between 8 to 20 pounds and owing to its huge quantity, it is sold in cut pieces.

Ambercup- Looking like a little pumpkin with dark orange skin as well as flesh. It can be roasted by cutting into cubes and being a winter squash is storable for a long time. The flesh is not mushy and has a sweet taste.

Calabaza-The Calabaza squash is also known as the West Indian pumpkin and this is cultivated in America and West Indies. However, due to its hard skin, it is transported to different places as it can be stored for longer than the ones with thinner skin.

Sweet Dumpling-This small squash has a skin coated with cream color and the ridges are dark green. It looks like a pumpkin but is pressed on the top which gives it a distinct shape. The flesh greenish to orange in color, has slightly sweet taste and is also soft. This squash is good for baking as it is small in size and can be cooked whole

Sunburst- The Sunburst squash or patty pan squash are small and look ornamental with their flowery structure. The sunburst patty pan comes in bright sunny color as the name suggests and having a buttery taste, it fits into any summer dish. Patty pan squash is also found in light green color which is also known as white squash.

Carnival-The Carnival squash tastes like butternut squash and sweet potato and is eaten by removing the peel. The hard skin of this winter squash is deep green in color with light green and orange marks. This vegetable is used in soups or consumed by baking or steaming.

Spaghetti-The name comes from the fact that this squash splits into strands like that of spaghetti. This cylindrical shiny yellow squash weighs from 4 to 8 pounds and is used in pasta or savored by adding herbs and butter. Great option if you are looking to a low carbohydrate diet. 

Turban-Glistening yellow inside and bright colored peel ranging from green to white to orange, this squash has a typical shape which helped it in acquiring this name. This squash has a big cap which can be removed in order to make it into a pot to hold soup and the like.

Baked Delicata Squash with PomegranatesFall Squash Bake 


2 delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, cut into 1/2-inch slices

2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut oil, melted

Pinch sea salt


3 Tbsp home-made tahini

1/2 lemon, juiced 

1 Tbsp maple syrup


1/4 cup pomegranate arils

1/4 cup  dry roasted hazelnuts, loosely chopped

1/4 cup  fresh parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Add sliced squash to a to bowl and toss with oil and sea salt. Then arrange in a single layer on baking sheet.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping once at the halfway point to ensure even baking. You’ll know it's done when fork tender, golden brown, and slightly caramelized.

While squash is baking, prepare dressing by adding tahini, lemon juice, and maple syrup to a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine, then add hot water 1 Tbsp at a time and whisk until pourable. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

To serve, arrange baked squash on a serving dish and top with dressing, pomegranates, walnuts, and parsley. Serve warm.



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