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27 Different Types of Winter and Summer Squash


Table of Contents Show

Quicklist: Types of Squash

  1. Zucchini 
  2. Round / Eight Ball Zucchini
  3. Acorn Squash
  4. Buttercup Squash
  5. Butternut Squash
  6. Crookneck Squash
  7. Pattypan Squash
  8. Cousa Squash
  9. Tatume Squash
  10. Tromboncino Squash
  11. Delicata Squash
  12. Sweet Dumpling Squash
  13. Hubbard Squash
  14. Kabocha Squash
  15. Spaghetti Squash
  16. Calabaza Squash
  17. Sugar Pumpkin
  18. Field Pumpkins
  19. Gourd
  20. Honey Nut Squash
  21. Red Kuri
  22. Turban Squash
  23. Chayote Squash
  24. Zephyr Squash
  25. Cuarzo Squash
  26. Green Eggs Squash
  27. Gold Rush Squash

The multi-colored members of the Squash family are important components of culinary traditions worldwide — indigenous to the Americas, some varieties are believed to be among the oldest cultivated foods. The English word itself comes from an expression in the Algonquian Narragansett language, “askutasquash,” meaning “a green thing eaten raw.” 

As food, squash are extremely versatile and can be prepared in a number of ways. Available in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes they are valued as both ornamental and edible food. Squash are usually oval or round in shape with a hard outer rind.

Related: Types of Pumpkin 

They can be green, orange, yellow, brown, or even white in color. Rich in Vitamins A and C, along with other essential vitamins and minerals, most squash varieties have a mild or nutty taste. When they are paired with the right ingredients, the flavor becomes even more vibrant.

While there are over 100 types, we explore some of the more common varieties.

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Squash Nutritional Charts

Squash Nutritional Chart

Compare it to pumpkin nutritional facts:

Pumpkin nutrition facts chart

Different Types of Squash

Summer Squash and Winter Squash

Squash are mainly divided into two groups:

  • Summer squash
  • Winter squash

It may seem by the names that summer squash grows in summer and winter squash grows in winter, but that is not necessarily the case.

Types of Summer Squash

Summer squash is so named because their fruit is ready for harvest and consumption in the warm summer months. They are soft-skinned and can also be called tender squash. They are harvested steadily starting from early summer to late summer. They can be eaten raw, sautéed, or steamed. You cannot store them in the refrigerator for more than two days.

Types of Winter Squash

Winter squash is named so because their fruit is not ready to be harvested until the end of summer. They are harvested starting from late summer till autumn, and sometimes, even in early winter. Their fruits can be stored well for a long time and you can eat them in winter!

The fruits have very hard skin and firm flesh that makes it ideal for storage for long periods of time. It is not very tasty when eaten raw, but it is a very popular type of squash when it comes to baking and making pies.

Popular Squash Types

1. Zucchini Squash

Zucchini squash fruit on a table

Zucchini is one of the most prolific varieties of squash. It is a type of summer squash and may produce several fruits during the peak season.

Zucchini plants should be planted after the last frost has passed. The seeds should be planted when the temperature of the soil has risen up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Two to three plants should be planted together because, in order to produce fruit, squash flowers need to be pollinated multiple times.

The flowers open only once a day and when there are more flowers close to each other, chances of pollination are greatly increased.

Zucchini plants grow best in well-drained soil that is enriched with compost. They require full sun exposure for optimal growth. They should be harvested when they are about six inches long, with young and tender fruits.

2. Round / Eight Ball Zucchini

Round zucchini fruits

Round zucchini, a summer squash, is easy to grow and maintain. The fruit is light-green to dark-green in color with pale flesh. It tastes extremely sweet and nutty.

The seeds or seedlings should be planted when the temperature of the atmosphere and the soil has increased to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Round zucchini requires well-drained soil, having a pH in a range of 6.0 to 6.7. The soil should be fertile and treated with compost. For best growth, round zucchini requires a lot of water and food but overwatering can lead to the death of the plant.

3. Acorn Squash

Green acorn squash

Acorn squash is a winter squash variety. It is a dark-green colored fruit with dark-yellow to orange-colored flesh. Winter squash can be stored for a long period of time, owing to its hard skin and firm flesh.

The plants have a vining growth habit and take up a lot of garden space. They should be planted after the last frost has passed and the temperature has turned warm. The best time to sow seeds of Acorn squash is when the temperature of the soil has risen to between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Acorn squash is a very heavy feeder and the soil should be well-drained, rich and fertile. Soil pH should be 5.5 to 6.8.

Their nut-like flavor is found in many dishes, especially soups and stuffed squash.

4. Buttercup Squash

Buttercup squash

Buttercup squash fruit is turban-shaped. The plant is dark green in color with bright orange-colored flesh. The flesh is thick, dry, and very flavorful.

A winter squash, they grow on vines that can be as long as 24 inches. They require a very fertile, well-drained soil for best growth results. The preferable soil pH is 6.0 to 6.8. Buttercup squash should be planted in an area that receives full sun. Most importantly, the seeds should be sowed when the temperature of the environment and the soil has warmed significantly.

As buttercup squash is a bit dry, it can be steamed or baked and used in stews. 

5. Butternut Squash

Butternut squash fruit

Butternut squash should be planted in an area with a lot of sunlight. They require a fertile, well-drained soil for best growth. The soil should be treated with a lot of compost and manure to ensure the plants get the necessary nutrition. The seeds of butternut squash should be sowed when the temperature has warmed up, which is a common requirement for the growth of all types of squash.

Butternut squash is used in a variety of recipes ranging from soups to pasta to fillings! 

6. Crookneck Squash

Yellow colored crookneck squash

Crookneck squash is a yellow-colored squash with a crooked neck and orange-colored flesh. It is a bushy plant suitable for containers and small gardens. It is one of the most flavorful squash with a sweet and buttery taste.

Crookneck plants need a well-drained and fertile soil with pH in the range of 5.8 and 6.8 for the best growth. They thrive best in areas that receive full sun exposure for at least six to eight hours per day. Crookneck are fast-growing, prolific plants that produce plenty of fruit all season long, as long as you continue harvesting them. .

7. Pattypan Squash

Saucer-shaped pattypan

Pattypan squash is also known as Scallop squash. Like zucchini, pattypan is a summer squash and can be green, yellow, or white in color.

The plant needs full sun exposure and well-drained, fertile soil for optimal growth. The seeds should be sowed when the last frost has passed and the temperature has turned considerably warm.

Pattypan squash are delicious fruits that can be eaten raw, roasted, steamed or sautéed.

8. Cousa Squash

Cousa squash is a summer squash that tastes a lot like zucchini. Pale to medium-green in color it is more bulbous than zucchini in appearance. Its sweet flavors are popular in Syrian and Lebanese dishes.

The plant needs a rich, fertile, well-drained soil with full sun exposure for the best growth. 

9. Tatume Squash

Tatume squash fruit

Tatume squash, is a heirloom vegetable that is native to Central and South America. The green-colored squash is round in shape with flesh that is pale or white in color. The fruit, produced on long vines, is sweeter than zucchini or crookneck squash.

The plants perform best in areas where the climate is warm. The seeds should be planted when the temperature of the soil has warmed to at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The soil should be well-drained, rich and fertile. The sun exposure should be full, for at least six to eight hours per day.

10. Tromboncino Squash

Tromboncino squash fruit

Tromboncino squash has a split personality. The plant is a member of the winter butternut squash family but its fruit are harvested early like a summer squash. The fruit is light green in color with orange-colored flesh. 

The seeds of Tromboncino squash should be sowed when the last frost has passed and the soil has warmed up to at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be planted in an area that receives full sun. 

11. Delicata Squash

Delicata squash

Delicata squash is a smaller variety of winter squash that has cream-colored fruit, with dark-green lines running along their lengths. The skin of Delicata squash is not as hard as other varieties which do not make it suitable to be stored for longer periods.

The plants spread to about 48 inches and grow best in areas that receive full sun. The soil should be treated with compost and seeds should be sown after the soil has been amended. Make sure that the soil has warmed up considerably before sowing seeds. Delicata squash has relatively short growing seasons.

12. Sweet Dumpling Squash

A bunch of dumpling squash

Sweet Dumpling is another type of winter squash. The fruits are small with pale, cream-colored skin, having green or orange colored lines. The flesh is yellow or orange.

 The plant has a vining growth habit and prefers areas which receive full sun. The soil should be fertile, moist and well-drained. 

13. Hubbard Squash

A half slice of Hubbard squash

Hubbard squash, a winter variety, can grow to be as large as 50 pounds. The fruit has a tough skin which ranges in color from blue to green. The flesh is bright orange in color. The outer shell is extremely hard and can be stored for up to six months.

The seeds should be planted when the temperature of the soil is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit, in an area that receives full sun exposure. The soil should be moist but well-drained. Before sowing seeds, the soil should be treated with compost.

The flesh is starchy and dense. It has a sweet, nutty taste. it tastes amazing when baked or steamed.

14. Kabocha Squash

Kabocha squash whole and a couple of half slicesKabocha squash is another winter squash with a vining growth habit. The fruit is dark-green in color with light-green or yellow stripes running along the entire surface. They are a hybrid squash variety that has been developed especially for their rich, nutty flavor.

The soil temperature should be between 70 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit at the time of planting. The soil should be well-drained, rich, and fertile. Kabocha squash prefers growing in an area that receives full sun.

It’s rich, nutty flavor makes it an ideal squash for soups and curries. 

15. Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash fruit

As the name indicates, the flesh of this winter squash is similar to spaghetti. The fruit and flesh are both shades of yellow. 

The seeds of spaghetti squash should be sowed after the last frost has passed. The ideal time to plant this squash is when the temperature of the soil has risen to at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The soil should be well-drained, rich, and fertile having plenty of compost for best growth. 

16. Calabaza Squash

Calabaza squash fruit

Calabaza is a winter squash with fruit that ranges in color from green to beige, light-red to orange. The flesh is a bright orange color, as well. 

The plant grows on vines that can spread vigorously up to 50 feet. It should be planted in large, open areas that receive full sun for at least six to eight hours every day. In frost-free regions, the seeds can be planted any time during the summer. The soil should be moist enough but not too wet. 

Calabaza squash can be found in many dishes ,including soups, salads, curries, fried, baked, steamed or sautéed.

17. Sugar Pumpkin

Sugar Pumpkins on a wooden bowls.

Although sugar pumpkins are commonly mistaken for the decorative pumpkins used to carve Jack-o lanterns, they are certainly not the same. These pumpkins are smaller, sweeter, and less fibrous than decorative pumpkins and thus are great for cooking.

Also known as pie pumpkin or sweet pumpkins, sugar pumpkins belong to the winter squash family. They grow in early spring or summer when the soil is still warm. The pumpkins require temperatures below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, they grow well in moist, rich soils at 15 degrees Celsius temperatures. Saturated soil can cause the growth of powdery mildew on these pumpkins.

Sugar pumpkins mature within 90-110 days and are ready to harvest when the rinds become bright orange and firm. You should cure them in the sun for a week to be ready to eat. Sugar pumpkins are great for sautéing, roasting, baking or making purees.

18. Field Pumpkins

Also known as Cucurbita Pepo, field pumpkins are round to oval-shaped pumpkins belonging to the winter squash family and grown for decoration purposes, especially during Halloween. These pumpkins are among the oldest heirloom varieties, native to the southern US and northern Mexico, and have been grown for thousands of years.

Although field pumpkins are edible, their flesh is fibrous and not sweet. Unlike sugar, field pumpkins have a thinner outer shell and less flesh that you can scoop easily. In addition, they have more water and are thus unsuitable for eating.

The history of the Jack o’lantern pumpkin originated in Ireland, where the Irish carved vegetables to scare away the soul of one stingy Jack that was condemned to wander for eternity. Irish immigrants brought the culture to the U.S. when they began carving Jack-o lanterns to celebrate Halloween.

To grow field pumpkins for Halloween, you must plant seeds in mid to late May in cold climates and June in warmer climates. You need plenty of space with access to sunlight. They can withstand drought. Besides, you can plant them alongside radishes, catnip, and mint to repel squash modes.

19. Gourd

Bunch of green bottle gourd.

Gourds are hard-shelled summer fruits belonging to the Cucurbita or pumpkin family. Archaeological evidence suggests that gourds were cultivated more than 800 years ago in the Americas. There are four main types of gourds Bottle, ornamental, sponge, and snake gourds.

Bottle Gourds

Bottle gourds are also known as calabashes and originated from South Africa. They belong to the Lagaria genus and have a long growing season. Bottle gourds are green when growing and later become brown when dry.

These gourds come in various shapes, sizes, and varieties, including speckled swan, penguin, and powder horn. Thus, they are used to make musical instruments and fashion bottles.

Ornamental Gourds

Ornamental gourds belong to the Cucurbita genus and come in various shapes, colors and sizes. Some are stripped, while others are rigid and pattered. Thus, they are used for making bird feeders, birdhouses, and hanging baskets. You can pick these gourds as soon as their stems turn brown.

Sponge Gourds

Sponge gourds belong to the Luff aegyptiaca genus and are also known as bath sponges. They are smooth-skinned when young but later develop lines or are rigged as they age. These gourds grow up to 60 centimeters long and have white flesh. Their dried fibers make sponges for skin exfoliation or scrub sponges for the kitchen and bathroom.

Snake Gourds

Snake gourds belong to the pumpkin family, but they are longer and closely resemble watermelons. Although they are edible, they are not delicious. They are native to South Eastern Asia, tropical Africa and Australia.

20. Honeynut Squash

A honeynut is a sweet potato-sized winter squash that physically resembles butternut. However, it’s smaller, sweeter, and three times richer in beta carotene.

The honeynut squash was developed in the 1980s by Richard W Robinson, a professor at Cornell University, who crossbred Cucurbita Moschata (butternut) with Cucurbita Maxima (buttercup) to develop a breed with rich flavor.

However, it did not reach the market until 2006, when the professor, Michael Mazourek, a plant specialist, and Dan Barber, a restaurant owner, developed a breed that successfully entered the USA market in 2015.

Honeynut has thin skin that doesn’t need peeling. Due to its rich flavor, you can sauté, roast, bake, and add to stews, soups, and braises. It has a richly sweet, nutty, and malty flavor; thus, you don’t need to add sweetener. Honeynut grows in moist, rich soils under full sunlight and matures in 110 days.

21. Red Kuri

Also known as Japanese or Hokkaido squash, red kuri is a bright orange teardrop-shaped winter squash resembling a small pumpkin. It belongs to the Hubbard squash family and  was first grown in Kanazawa in the 1920s. It grows in California, Mexico, Florida, Tasmania, Tonga, New Zealand, Chile and South Africa.

Red kuri has a nutty, earthy, sweet chestnut flavor and is smooth and creamy when cooked. You can roast, sauté, steam, grill, or add soups and jams. It’s rich in calcium, potassium, vitamins A, C, and iron.

22. Turban Squash

Red Turban Squash on a warehouse.

Turban squash is a winter squash belonging to the Cucurbita Maxima family. It’s grown as an ornamental gourd or vegetable and got its name because it resembles a turban. It’s an asymmetrical fruit with firm bumpy, colorful skin, 25-35 centimeters in diameter, and weighs about five pounds.

Although Turban squash originated in the Caribbean islands, it was first documented in French cookbooks in the 1800s as a watery and bland vegetable. However, it has been crossbred with Acorn and Hubbard squashes to form a more flavorful version. It has a sweet, nutty pumpkin flavor and is great for making purees, soups, stews and thickeners.

Turban squash is mainly grown as an ornamental fruit, with colors ranging from red, orange, striped or mottled green. It has a unique shape characterized by a protrusion sitting on the main body, as the turban sits on the head. It has a hard shell making it difficult to peel.

23. Chayote Squash

Chayote squash is a pear-shaped summer squash with deeply ridged skin belonging to the same family as cucumbers and watermelons (Cucurbita family). It’s native to Central Mexico and Latin America but now grows worldwide.

Chayote squash is edible and can be eaten raw in salads, boiled, or stir-fried. It has many health benefits because it’s low in fat and high in vitamins C, B9, K, and B6 as well as copper, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. It’s also rich in myricetin, a potent antioxidant, and may regulate blood sugar and support a healthy heart.

There are two types of chayote, including cultivated and wild. Cultivated chayote are broad with shallow lobed leaves and can climb up to 30 feet. Wild varieties thrive along rivers, streams, and damp areas. Varieties of wild chayote include Perulero, Chayote de Caballo, Chayotillo, and Cabeza de Chayo.

24. Zephyr Squash

Zephyr Squash on a wooden bowl.

Zephyr squash is a unique two-toned summer squash with a green bottom and a yellow striped top. It’s a hybrid squash developed in 1999 by Rob Johnson by crossbreeding yellow crooked squash with a hybrid of Acorn and Delicate squash. 

Zephyr squash thrives in warm areas with rich well, drained soils and grows about 5-8 inches long. However, you can harvest it when it reaches 4-6 inches because a mature one is firm and dry. You can eat it raw, steam, bake, roast, or sauté. In addition, you can mix it with other summer vegetables and eat it alongside sea foods, beef, nuts, and other foods.

25. Cuarzo Squash

Also known as Mexican squash, Cuarzo squash is a rare summer squash with greyish green skin and high disease tolerance. Its uniform, attractive and semi-open makes it easy to harvest. In addition, its high disease tolerance makes it suitable for growing for long periods resulting in higher yields. 

Cuarzo squash has shallow roots and grows in warm temperatures in moisture-rich but well-drained soils. It matures in 25-35 days and can be eaten raw in salads, dips, wraps, rolls, or spiraled to make low-carb noodles. 

26. Green Eggs Squash

A green egg is a summer squash with deep green skin and an oval shape resembling an egg. It’s a close relative to Zucchini, but it’s thicker and shorter. In addition, it has a nutty taste and creamy flesh. A green egg squash can be eaten raw in salads, rolls, or spiraled to make vegetable noodles.

Green egg squash thrives in warm soil and can stand drought. However, you need to water it constantly. You can harvest it when the skin is shiny at the fruiting stage because the vines stop producing more fruits at maturity.

27. Gold Rush Squash

Gold rush squash is an F1 summer squash hybrid with smooth skin and yellow color that grows straight and reaches 18-20 centimeters. It resembles and tastes like zucchini and can be eaten raw or cooked. However, it’s longer than a Zucchini and has a signature bright yellow color and a dark green stem. 

You can make low-carb noodles, bake, saute, steam, or stir-fry gold rush squash. It thrives on warm soil and doesn’t need much-growing space. Besides, it has a short maturity time of 50 days.

Best Type of Squash for Soup, Roasting and Other Recipes

A bowl of butternut squash soup.

Squash Soups

Many Types Of Squash Make the Most Amazing Soups, But Butternut Squash is the Hands-Down Favorite!

Never mind those boring old qualifications for lowering blood pressure, and blood sugar, and supporting the immune system. When you smell aromas like warm curry, apple and butternut squash baking, and maple syrup, your nose automatically leads you to the kitchen. They’re cozy, warm, fall aromas, and completely irresistible. 

The butternut squash is pureed and then jazzed up with spices and other delicious additives. The texture is smooth like tomato soup and you can add your favorite spices, onion, and even maple syrup to make your squash soup jammin’.

Squash Pit

We Bet You Didn’t Know that Your Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie is Actually Made with Acorn Squash!

Pumpkin pie beside various types of squash, autumn leaves, and other Thanksgiving decorations.

The kind of pumpkin you carve for Mischief Night is too stringy, too wet, and altogether too messy to try to cook for a pie. Squash, on the other hand, is firmer, sweeter, and much easier to form into a pie. In fact, check your next can of pumpkin before the holidays. You’ll find it contains more squash than anything else. It’s the spices and brown sugar and sweeter squash flesh that make it a “pumpkin” pie.

Also, keep in mind that squashes, cucumbers, and pumpkins are all part of the Cucurbitaceae family. This family embraces squash, gourds, melons, and, yes, pumpkins. 

Squash Curry

Is it a Spice? Is it a Food? Is it a Squash? It’s Curry, And it’s Made with Dozens of Things!

A bowl of garbanzo beans with zucchini and broccoli surrounded by spices.

Many people wonder if curry is a soup or a stew, if it’s used to flavor meats and vegetables, and/or if it’s a spice or a food. Curry is a spice. It’s an amalgam of almost a dozen different spices, both sweet and savory.

One of the spices is garam masala, in itself a combination of spices that give a curry the wow factor. You can make yours as hot as you wish, or you can make it savory with a hint of zing. Either way, curry was invented to flavor milk-based soups and stews.

Curry can be anything you want it to be, from a veggie casserole to a stew. The best squash for making curry is yellow summer squash or zucchini, either separately or together. The color and texture of the vegetables in the curry sauce are unbeatable.

Roasted Squash

Why Does the Aroma of Roasted Foods Make Us All Unable to Wait for Dinner to be Finished?

Whole banana squash plants.

One of the best vegetables to roast in the oven is banana squash. Everyone loves this big guy because it grows up to three feet long and up to 100 pounds. Most grocery stores cut the squash and sell it in more manageable seedless, already-cut lengths. All you have to do is take it home and roast it.

It’s in the oven that the magic happens. As the banana squash slices caramelize, the aroma will fill the house. You could always place meat and vegetables into two halves of banana squash, put the halves together, wrap them all tightly in tin foil, and roast them. 

Carved Squash

We Bet You Didn’t Know Just How Many Fruits and Vegetables can be Carved Besides Pumpkins!

Carved butternut squash for Halloween.

Carved bell peppers? Carved oranges? Carved potatoes and turnips? Just. Wow. On the other hand, you see butter carved in the shape of a rose, a watermelon carved into the shape of a baby carriage, as well as avocado carved into stars and smiley faces. In that case, why not carve a squash?

We’ve seen some amazing faces carved into butternut squashes. We saw an entire kabocha squash carved like flower petals. The one we loved the best, though, was the sadly-carved pumpkin face wearing a mask! Try carving the buttercup, butternut, kabocha, spaghetti, sweet dumpling, and round zucchini squashes.

Squash Seeds

Those Seeds in the Trail Mix You’re Eating Could Be Squash Seeds!

Halved pieces of spaghetti squash.

It’s a huge shame to throw away the squash seeds once they’ve been cleaned out of the squash. They pack a nutritional punch, they taste nutty, and can be flavored or spiced any way you like. They can be eaten like sunflower seeds (without cracking). You can sprinkle them atop your meat and veggie casseroles, or you can incorporate them into your next batch of peanut brittle.

We roast our pumpkin seeds and eat them — why can’t we do the same with our spaghetti and summer squash seeds? Pour them in that trail mix, top your cereal with them, or just eat them straight out of the oven. They’re that good.

Squash Puree

Puree is Used by Michelin-Star Chefs for so Many Purposes that We Should Take a Squash, Er, a Leaf Out of Their Book!

Yellow patty pan squash on a white background.

Pattypan squash is bright yellow and looks like a cross between a small frisbee and a flying saucer. It tastes much like other squashes and can be cooked just like them. To puree a squash as a base for soups, dips, or other applications, it should be roasted before tossing it into the blender. Roasting it brings out the flavor.

If you need an example of puree, think of making smoothies. You’d puree strawberries to make a gel for a strawberry pie. Mashed potatoes don’t exactly puree unless you take it one step further for smooth, creamy potato soup. Take a page out of Gordon Ramsey’s book and puree some Pattypan squash for an amazing base in any number of delicious dishes.

Baking Squash

So You Think Baking is All About Cakes and Cornbread. Au Contraire, You Should Taste Zucchini Bread!

Vegetarian pizza

Butternut squash doughnuts. Yellow squash bundt cake. Baked parmesan yellow squash. Acorn squash muffins. Zucchini bread. These are only a few of the baked goods that can be made from squash. All varieties of squash, summer and winter squash, are used in baked goods ranging from bread to desserts. Summer squash bread and zucchini bread are the most popular breads made with squash.

Baked goods aren’t only sweets or bread, though. Pizza is baked, and vegetables of all types, colors, textures, and tastes are made into a pizza. The most popular pizza squash is summer squash combined with goat cheese. What’s your favorite veggie pizza?

Squash with Fried Fish

Want Something Other than the Ubiquitous Fries to Go With Your Fried Fish? 

Fried fishes with roasted veggies.

Most diners would just love something other than potatoes in some shape or color to go with their food, but they aren’t quite sure what pairs well. Restaurants are getting a little closer with their sweet potato and fried zucchini sides, but we’d like to suggest something a little different. Any kind of baked, stewed, or fried squash would go swimmingly, pardon the pun, with a fried fish basket.

While it takes longer to fry squash in a frying fish dish, it can be done. You simply remove the squash before frying the fish. It will pick up some of the squashy flavor. When you top the fried fish with the fried squash, the whole will come together beautifully. Read about it here.

Mashed Squash

Mash isn’t Just For Potatoes Anymore. Say Hello To Mashed Squash!

A bowl of pumpkin puree.

If you’ve seen riced cauliflower and broccoli, pasta made out of cauliflower and chickpea, as well as chips and crackers made of cheese, then you won’t be too surprised at what’s being turned into mash. Right now, the grocery stores are stocked with mashed cauliflower, but chefs have been making mashed squash (sometimes combined with mashed potatoes) for a while now.

Butternut and yellow summer squash are used for mashing for the most part. The ingredients are the same, the cooking method ditto, and the time to prepare the same. Bon appetit!

Anatomy of a Squash

Anatomy of a Squash illustration


Frequently Asked Questions

Is squash a fruit?

Botanists have precise and diverse terminology for all of the different fruit types. Botanically, squash is a fruit because it contains seeds and develops from a plant’s flowers. Technically, fruit is a ripened, mature ovary and contains the ovary’s contents.

Is squash a vegetable?

According to botanists, there is no strict botanical definition of what a vegetable is scientifically. However, vegetables are derived from a plant’s stems, roots, or leaves. Because squash is developed from the squash plant’s flowers and contains seeds, it is a fruit.

Is squash a pumpkin?

The answer to this question is complicated. Technically, a pumpkin is a squash, but squash is not a pumpkin. Both pumpkins and squash belong to the Cucurbita genus and the family Curcurbitaceae. Also, both squash and pumpkins are technically fruits and grow on vines.

Is squash a gourd?

Squash is not a gourd. While the two plants are similar and both are in the Cucurbita family, gourds usually are not eaten. Squash is grown and harvested for human consumption, while gourds are cultivated and grown for decorative purposes.

Technically, you can eat gourds, but you will need to pick the young fruit before it dries and ripens.

Is squash a carb?

Squash does have carbohydrates, so it technically it is a carb. However, squash is a low-carb fruit botanically, although it is nearly always used as a vegetable.

Some varieties of squash, such as winter squash, are higher in carbohydrates than summer squash (yellow squash) and zucchini.

Is squash good for you?

All varieties of squash offer several health benefits, but the various types of squash have different nutritional profiles. Overall, squash is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and B vitamins.

Additionally, squash is an antioxidant-rich food and  rich in these nutrients:

  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Beta-carotene
  • Polyphenols

Because of its specific nutrient set, squash offers several health benefits.

  • Eye health
  • Heart health
  • Balanced blood sugar
  • Hair and skin health
  • Cancer-fighting compounds

When to harvest squash?

Summer squash should be harvested as soon as it’s about six inches wide (pattypan squash) or six inches long (yellow squash or zucchini). Avoid allowing summer squash to become too large because it gets tougher. 

Winter squash is harvested at the end of the growing season, just before the first frost. Winter squash needs to ripen on the vine. 

When to harvest butternut squash?

Butternut squash is a winter squash, so it’s best to let them ripen on the vine just until the first frost.

Another way to know it’s time to harvest winter squash is to tap gently on the body of the squash. Your squash is ready for harvest if it sounds hollow and feels solid. 

When to harvest spaghetti squash?

Like butternut squash, spaghetti squash is also a winter squash. Allow it to grow on the vine until the end of the growing season and harvest right before the first frost. 

What to make with squash?

You can eat summer squash raw, but you can use all types of squash in recipes. For example, baked, fried, or roasted squash is delicious, and you can also use squash to make casseroles and vegetarian dishes. 

What to do with butternut squash?

Butternut squash is excellent when roasted in the oven. You can also use butternut squash to make soups and casseroles. 

Can you eat raw squash?

Raw squash is delicious and offers the same nutritional benefits as cooked squash. In fact, because cooking slowly causes nutrient deterioration, raw squash is even more beneficial nutritionally.

Can you freeze squash?

You can freeze squash, but the texture will change because of the high water content. Frozen squash is best suited for soups and stews.

Can you freeze butternut squash?

You can freeze butternut squash, and it freezes up much more nicely than summer squash. To freeze butternut squash, cut the squash into cubes and freeze spaced out on a baking sheet until firm. Then, put the squash cubes into a freezer container.

What is winter squash?

Winter squash varieties can be stored throughout the winter months. The most popular winter squash types are: 

  • Acorn squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Buttercup squash
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Hubbard squash

Will butternut squash ripen off the vine?

We recommend allowing butternut squash to ripen on the vine. However, if you need to pick them before they’re fully ripe, they will still continue to ripen while in storage. 

Can you fry butternut squash?

Butternut squash cut into cubes is delicious when pan-fried or cooked in the air fryer. 

What does squash taste like?

Most varieties of squash have a silky texture and nutty, mild flavor. You can also expect a touch of sweetness from most squash varieties. 

Do squash have seeds?

Yes, squash have seeds. Because all squash have seeds, it is botanically a fruit.

Can you eat spaghetti squash seeds?

Roasted spaghetti squash seeds are delicious. 

Can you eat butternut squash seeds?

All squash seeds are great for eating, including butternut squash seeds. 

Can you eat squash leaves?

All parts of the squash plants are edible, including the leaves. 

Is squash a nightshade?

Squash is not a nightshade vegetable. 

Does squash have protein?

All varieties of squash offer some protein, but yellow squash offers the most protein.

Does squash have fiber?

All varieties of squash are excellent sources of fiber.

  • Cooked spaghetti squash (one cup): 2.2 grams of fiber
  • Yellow squash (one cup): 4.8 grams of fiber
  • Butternut squash (one cup): 6.6 grams of fiber

Does squash need full sun?

Like most fruits and vegetables, squash will perform better when grown in full sun.

Can you eat cross-pollinated squash?

The problem with cross-pollinated squash is that the process of cross-pollination contributes to higher cucurbitacin concentrations. Eating cross-pollinated squash can make you very ill. It’s best to avoid eating squash that you’re not familiar with.

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