With Halloween comes autumn´s multicolored squash season. While the pumpkin is the best known type of squash,  its other family members come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and are well worth discovering. 
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Some Winter Squash Varieties
 acorn squash 938936 640

Acorn squash

The acorn squash is difficult to peel. It has a hard and ribbed skin that can be dark green, orange or white. The flesh is sweet, and ranges in colour from pale yellow to orange. This variety of squash is harvested when fully ripe.
 butternut squash

Butternut squash

The butternut squash is pear-shaped and has a thin yellowish-tan skin that can be easily peeled. The flesh is bright orange, and possesses a sweet, rich flavor somewhat similar to sweet potatoes.


More carved than eaten, the pumpkin comes in different sizes but it is best to choose a small "sugar pumpkin" for cooking (1kg-2lb). Pumpkins range in color from yellow to orange, but they can also appear grey-blue. The flesh is deep yellow with seeds in the central cavity.
 Hubbard squash

Hubbard squash

The Hubbard squash can appear pale grey/blue to dark green and orange in color. Resembling a watermelon in size, this squash is usually rather dry and sweet. For optimum flavor, it is best to choose a mid-sized specimen.
 Turban squash

Turban squash

Because of it unusual shape and mix of colors, the turban squash is often used for decoration rather than eating. You can even use it as a festive soup tureen.
 spegetti squash

Spaghetti squash

This yellow, elongated vegetable is also known as vegetable spaghetti. Its name comes from it ability to separate into thin, spaghetti-like strands when cooked. It has a rather bland taste, and can be a good substitute for pasta.

Delicata squash

A long squash with stripes in green and orange. Also called sweet potato squash, this vegetable boasts a yellow flesh with a sweet taste reminiscent of fresh corn.
How to Choose a Squash?
Winter squash and pumpkins should be firm and heavy for their size, with no cracks or bruises. Avoid any with soft spots. Winter squash and pumpkins will keep for several months if they are ripe and the stem is attached. Store them in a cool, dry place, like on an open shelf or countertop. Do not store them in the refrigerator.
How to Prepare and Cook Squash:
Unlike summer squashes, the skin of most winter squashes is not edible so the squashes should always be peeled before or after cooking. Some of them, like the acorn squash, are difficult to peel, so you will find it easier to cook before using the flesh.
In the oven: You can cut winter squash in half and bake them in the oven for 45 minutes at 190oC (375oF), or until tender. You can even bake them whole in the oven if you poke holes in the skin. Scoop out the cooked flesh and use it in a recipe, or simply serve t well-seasoned with your favorite spices.
In the microwave: Cut your squash in half. Scoop out seeds and strings. Place halves face down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Cook on high (H) for 6- 8 minutes per pound.
Boiled: Squashes that are easy to peel can also be cut in cubes and boiled until tender.
Pumpkin: You can eat the seeds of winter squash and pumpkin. First, remove the seeds from the flesh; rinse to remove strings. Place on an oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic powder, a pinch of salt and any other seasonings you desire. Roast in a hot oven (about 400F) until seeds are toasted but not burned.
Spaghetti squash: This squash is also called "vegetable spaghetti". It is usually boiled or baked in its skin, and the flesh is forked out and served with other foods.
Squash or Pumpkin?
The squash family is divided into:
  • Summer squash: any of various fruits of the gourd family that mature during the summer; eaten while immature and before seeds and rind harden. The flesh and skin are soft.
  • Winter squash: any of various fruits of the gourd family with thick rinds and edible yellow to orange flesh that mature in the fall and can be stored for several months. Pumpkins are a variety of winter squash.


Vegetables Fundamentals

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