The GoodsThe Goods

All about squash: Your guide to the most autumnal ingredients

CBC Life

October 04, 2017

Now that fall is here, the kitchen at The Goods has been stocked with seasonal ingredients and a wide variety of squash have been taking center stage. Squash are one of the oldest known crops – about 10,000 years old based on estimates from some sites in Mexico. Pumpkins are actually a squash, too! These fall favourites are low in calories but have tons of vitamins, calcium and iron. Here's a guide some of the varieties that are out there and the delicious ways they can be used.

Acorn squash

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This variety is considered a winter squash but it's actually the same species as summer squash – and that's why the skin is so thin. This one is super common and you'll often see it at your local grocery store. 

Because the skin of Acorn squash is so thin, you don't need to peel it – it's totally edible. Simply slice it thin, and roast at a high temp until it's crispy. 400F for 25 minutes should do it. Or, you can roast it whole at 400F for 1 hour, then peel off skin. It's so thin, it comes off easily. For a delicious twist, try stuffing it with rice or roasted and glazed with maple syrup.

Hubbard squash

This one is also known as a Green pumpkin, Buttercup squash or Winter squash. Fun fact: Lots of canned pumpkin is actually Hubbard squash. It's closely related to Turban squash but their taste and texture are completely different. Turban squash may be beautiful, but it doesn't taste so great, unlike the delicious Hubbard varieties.

When preparing, don't attempt to peel this variety – the skin is way too bumpy. Use a chef's knife to cut it in half: it's important not to try this with a flimsy steak or butter knife. Always use a towel to protect your hand and cut slowly. Cook flesh side down until it's blistered at 375F for 1½ hours. You can make it into a mash, soup, hash or use as a substitute in a pie for your next feast! Hubbard squash are pefect for feeding a crowd because they are so large.

Sugar pumpkins

They may be pretty, but large pumpkins are not great for baking with. If you were to try to make a pumpkin pie with one, you'd be left with a stringy, watery mess. Sugar pumpkins are the way to go and are a type of winter squash. The skin is thin and smooth so they're easy to peel.

Sugar pumpkins are great to steam when making into a puree. Simply peel the pumpkin, cube it, then steam it. If you boil it, your pumpkin pie filling will be too watery and if you roast it you might have a strange flavour in your pie. For a sweet treat, they're great with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves in a pie, mousse or ice cream.

Spaghetti squash

This kind of squash is perfect for meal prep. You can freeze cooked Spaghetti squash and it will keep for 6-8 months! It's as simple as slicing it in half and adding oil, dried spices and herbs. It can be boiled, microwaved, steamed, or oven baked.

Spaghetti squash also makes a delicious substitute for pasta. For a light "Olio e Aglio pasta", drizzle the squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, dried oregano, garlic powder and chili flakes. Roast at 400F for 45 minutes or until tender and the flesh can be forked up.