Winter squashes are some of the most delicious and versatile ingredients of the season. Unlike summer squashes, these are harvested in autumn when they are hard and ripe, and most varieties can be stored and enjoyed for use through the winter. Here is a list of the most common and delicious ones:

Butternut Squash

  • What it looks like: This pear-shaped squash has a smooth, cream-coloured exterior with bright orange flesh and comparatively few seeds.
  • Buying and storing: Look for squash that’s firm, heavy for its size, and free from cracks and soft spots.
  • Flavour: This is the sweetest variety of winter squash.
  • How to use it: Butternut squash is extremely versatile. It’s perfect for roasting and sautéing, or making a smooth purée or soup.

Acorn Squash

  • What it looks like: The Acorn squash is small in size, typically weighing between one and two pounds, with orange-yellow flesh and thick, dark green and orange skin.
  • Buying and storing: Choose acorn squash that have a firm exterior, are free from soft spots and blemishes, and feel heavy for their size. Store them in a cool, dry place and they will keep for at least one month.
  • Flavour: Acorn squash has a mild, subtly sweet and nutty flavour. Its skin is also edible.
  • How to use it: Like most varieties of winter squashes, acorn squash is really versatile. It can be baked, roasted, steamed, sautéed, or even cooked in the microwave.

Buttercup Squash

  • What it looks like: Buttercup squash is squat and round with an inedible dark green rind that has green-gray striations. It has firm, dense, vibrant orange flesh. It resembles kabocha squash, though is distinguished by a round ridge on its bottom.
  • Buying and storing: Choose a squash that’s heavy for its size, with even colouring. Avoid squashes with blemishes, soft spots, or dull skin. Buttercup squash can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to three months.
  • Flavour: Buttercup squash has a sweet, creamy flavour and is considered sweeter than other winter squash varieties.
  • How to use it: The flesh tends to be dry, so steaming and baking are the best methods for cooking this squash. And its firm texture makes it ideal for a curry.

Kabocha Squash

  • What it looks like: Kabocha squash is squat and round, and similar in size and shape to buttercup squash, though the base points outwards. It has a dull finish with dark green skin that sometimes has small lumps, and a bright yellow-orange flesh.
  • Buying and storing: Look for a squash with dull colouring that’s firm and heavy for its size, and free from soft spots. Store it in a cool, dry place for up to one month.
  • Flavour: Kabocha squash is remarkably sweet with a nice nutty flavour, and texture that’s similar to a blend of sweet potato and pumpkin.
  • How to use it: Kabocha squash is very versatile and can be used as a substitute for any other winter squash. It can be roasted or steamed, added to soup, or used for a pie filling.

Sweet Dumpling Squash

  • What it looks like: This squash, with bright orange to dark green striations, may be the cutest of the bunch.
  • Buying and storing: Look for squash with deep colouring, with a smooth rind that’s free from soft spots, blemishes, or cracks. Stored in a cool, dry area, away from sunlight, this squash can last for up to three months.
  • Flavour: The flesh tastes very much like sweet potato, and the skin is edible as well.
  • How to use it: The small, single-serving size of this squash makes it ideal for stuffing and roasting. Use sweet dumpling squash in recipes calling for sweet potato or pumpkin.

Carnival Squash

Breed an acorn squash with a sweet dumpling squash, and you get a carnival squash. While the carnival squash’s exterior resembles both of its relatives’, its yellow flesh is mellow and sweet. Use it wherever acorn squash or butternut squash is called for in a recipe.

Red Kuri Squash

The red kuri has an asymmetrical, lopsided look to it. Its yellow flesh is smooth and has a chestnut like flavour.

Pumpkin

  • What it looks like: Pumpkins used for cooking and baking are smaller than the field pumpkins used for decoration. They’re round with a firm exterior that can range in colour from pale yellow to bright reddish-orange, with a vibrant orange flesh.
  • Buying and storing: For the best flavour and texture, choose pumpkins grown specifically for eating rather than carving, such as sugar pumpkins, sweet pumpkins, cheese pumpkins, and different heirloom varieties.
  • Flavour: Large field pumpkins — ones you’d put on your front porch — are best left for decoration since they’re dry and flavourless. Sugar pumpkins, and like varieties, have a sweet, earthy taste.
  • How to use it: You can use smaller pumpkins just as you would other varieties of winter squash — bake, roast, or purée them. Pumpkin is ideal for soup, curries, and of course, pies!