Winter Squash Glossary
About 6 inches in diameter, the acorn squash has a dark green, ribbed shell and orange flesh.
With peach-colored skin and orange flesh, the banana squash is shaped like its namesake, although it can grow several feet long. It is often sold cut into pieces.
Large, usually a foot long or more, with a beige skin and orange-yellow flesh, the butternut is identifiable by the round bulb at one end. It has a flavorful, dense flesh and is especially good for baking and pureeing.
A squash with green-striped yellow skin and yellow flesh, the delicata tastes a bit like a sweet potato. It is about 3 inches in diameter and 6 to 8 inches long.
Golden Nugget Squash
This squash resembles a small pumpkin about 4 inches in diameter.
Weighing 10 pounds or more, the Hubbard has yellow flesh and gray-green, blue or dark green skin with small bumps. It makes an excellent puree that is a good substitute for pumpkin in pies.
This squash, with its bright green skin marked with paler green stripes, has pale orange flesh. It usually weighs 2 to 3 pounds and may be substituted for acorn squash in recipes.
Pumpkins include field and cooking varieties. For cooking, seek out small, sweet varieties with a thick flesh and a fairly small seed cavity, such as Sugar Pie, Baby Bear or Cheese pumpkins. Field pumpkins have a fibrous flesh that is not good for cooking; reserve them for jack-o'-lanterns.
Roughly the shape and size of a football, the spaghetti squash has bright yellow skin. The cooked flesh forms long, thin strands when pulled from the shell with a fork, thus its name. Spaghetti squashes should be baked whole, then halved and their strands pulled out; serve like pasta.
Sweet Dumpling Squash
Actually an Asian gourd about 4 inches in diameter, the sweet dumpling has a very flavorful flesh and can be cooked and eaten like a winter squash. It is best when fully mature, its skin yellow with dark-orange stripes.
Resembling an acorn squash in size and shape, this variety, also known as a golden acorn, has a bright orange shell and sweet, mild-tasting flesh.
This exotic-looking specimen has a topknot and multihued skin in oranges, yellows and greens. It comes in varied sizes and shapes.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Companion: The A to Z Guide to Everyday Cooking, Equipment and Ingredients (Time-Life Books, 2000)