How to Prepare Different Types of Squash

All About Squash

In our kitchens, fall means squash season. From acorn squash to the customary pumpkin, we love to cook, bake and roast up all types. And we have the recipes to prove it. 

When buying, choose a firm, unblemished squash with good colour. Avoid those that have soft spots. 

There are two major groups of squash: summer and winter. 

Summer squash, including green and yellow zucchini, crookneck, pattypan and yellow squash, have thinner and often edible rinds. They show up in grocery stores and farmer’s markets during the summer and are often eaten raw in salads or cooked into simple dishes. As summer squash gets older, the rind gets thicker and often becomes bitter. Try peeling the rind and then taste a bite of the flesh before putting it into a dish where bitterness may be noticed.  

Winter squash is harvested in the fall. These have hard, thick rinds and tough seeds that need to be scooped out. They may take more effort to prepare, but winter squashes are incredibly versatile. They can be baked, roasted, mashed, stuffed or added to soups and stews. 

Different winter squash can often be substituted for each other. Most of them have mild flavours and can be used in similar ways. Have a recipe that calls for buttercup squash? Try it with acorn, butternut, delicata, hubbard, or kabocha squash or even pumpkin. 

  • Winter Squash
    Pumpkin Acorn Butternut
    • Pumpkins are one of the most popular squash. Large, round and orange, there are a number of varieties, some are good for pies, while others are better for roasting. Pumpkin can be baked, roasted, pureed or boiled, depending on what you want to so with it. Find out more about cooking pumpkin.
    Harvest Pumpkin Soup
    • Acorn squash are oval-shaped with dark green ribbed skin and orange flesh. These winter squash are commonly halved and baked, stuffed or unstuffed, or sliced and roasted. 
    Parmesan-Crusted Acorn Squash Wedges
    • Pear-shaped and lightly coloured, butternut squash are sweet. The orange flesh can be baked, steamed, or boiled.
    Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper
    Spaghetti Hubbard
    • Creamy-yellow and watermelon-shaped, spaghetti squash is a great alternative to pasta when the flesh is cooked and separated into spaghettilike strands. Roasted or microwaved, it is easy to run your fork down the flesh to enjoy this squash.
    Spaghetti Squash with Browned Butter and Sage
    • Hubbard squash is very large with bumpy skin and a short neck. It can range in colour from orange to light or dark green. Less sweet than other varieties, it also has a grainier texture, so it's usually served mashed or pureed.
    Curried Squash Soup
  • Summer Squash
    Yellow Pattypan Zucchini
    • Yellow squash comes in two different shapes: straight neck and crookneck, which curves at the neck. They both have wider bottoms and thin out towards the neck. Yellow squashes can be eaten raw when picked early or cooked into sweet and savoury additions.
    Harvest Squash Medley
    • Pattypan squash is as fun looking as its name, and can even be used for decorations. It comes in a variety of shades of green and yellow and has a flying saucer shape. Pattypan squash when young and tender is often used instead of zucchini. When left to grow and mature, it is a little denser and crunchier than other summer squashes. You can use these in a salad, sauté them, or even stuff the larger ones. 
    Spicy Sesame Grilled Vegetables
    • Green Zucchini: Although green zucchini is available all year round, summer is its peak season. The skin on the green zucchini is soft and thin, with a firm, white inside that is mild in taste. It can be eaten raw or uncooked, adding a sweet and savoury flavour.
    • Yellow Zucchini: Very similar to the yellow squash, yellow zucchini keeps an even shape throughout the body. The taste is a little sweeter than a green zucchini, yet can be used for the same purposes.
    Crispy Zucchini Spears