The world of squash is a fascinating one. A huge variety of squash can be found in any season, differing greatly in shape, size, and color. You won’t be able to help but be amazed by the overflowing selection of different items, and each trip to the farmer’s market uncovers something new and tempting that you couldn’t help but bring home. With so many kinds of squash that are both gorgeous and delicious, it can be too much to handle while grocery shopping each week.
You must certainly use zucchini in your cooking during summer and incorporate butternut squash into your meals during cooler months, but there are many more varieties of squash you can use in your cooking. These varieties are in addition to the already prominent zucchini and butternut squash.
Summer Squash Vs. Winter Squash: What’s Different?
The primary distinction between summer and winter squashes is the length of time they can be stored. The rind of summer squash is generally more delicate and it is recommended to consume it while it is still young and fresh. Permitting it to become extremely large and to form ripe seeds makes it less desirable. We adore our summer squashes when they’re soft, not hard.
The texture of winter squash differs greatly from other types of squash; its flesh is much more stable and its outer layer is much harder. It holds up well to long-term storage. A thicker outer layer safeguards the piece of fruit from going bad as long as it isn’t exposed to moisture and is stored in a colder place.
Winter squash take longer to be ready for harvest than summer squash. When the fruit is at its proper size, you can harvest it and enjoy it! Winter squash reaches its full size but requires additional time to fully mature while still on the vine. It slowly develops its natural sugars and flavor.
Botanical terminology states that the majority of summer squash belong to the Cucurbita pepo subspecies pepo. There are also some varieties of summer squash that belong to the Cucurbita moschata and Cucurbita maxima species. Winter squash is the dominating factor in the last two species.
Summer Squash Varieties
There are four different types of summer squash, though they are all connected. The taste of all varieties is comparable, but the way they grow can be different. This is an outline of the various kinds, as well as some recommended options!
Ever-present, zucchini is the king of many people’s gardens. Normally a green hue, there is additionally yellow and white zucchini. These produce cylinder-shaped fruit which is easy to slice. It’s good raw or cooked.
- Burpee’s Best: 40 days. Spine-free vines create luscious 6-8″ dark green fruit. Good early harvest.
- Chiffon: 42 days. Light yellow zucchini with pale white flesh, very tasty with excellent texture.
- Dunja: 47 days. Dark green, straight zucchini. Intermediate resistance to powdery mildew, mosaic viruses, and more.
- Cocozelle: 48 days. A deep green zucchini streaked with light green stripes. Italian heirloom that can reach 10-12″ long.
- Costata Romanesco: 52 days. Long, ribbed produce with medium-green striped skin, lightly scalloped when cut across the fruit.
- Italiano Largo: 59 days. Deeply ribbed, long and thin fruit. Few seeds even if they get large. Extremely flavorful!
- Green Tiger: 60 days. Beautiful dark and light green striped zucchini with 8″ cylindrical fruit.
- Black Beauty: 63 days. A classic and popular zucchini with dark green skin and white flesh. High in vitamin A!
- Meot Jaeng I Ae: 65 days. Technically this is a Korean summer squash, but it falls into the broad zucchini category. Delicate soft texture.
Yellow Squash Varieties
These yellow squash varieties have a luminous yellow hue, and may be irregular and bumpy in shape. No matter if the neck of the plant is curved or upright, one thing is certain: the produce is delicious!
- Fortune: 39 days. Smooth, pale-yellow fruit with a 6-7″ eating size. Extremely heavy producer, you’ll have a fortune in squash!
- Dixie Hybrid: 41 days. Smooth-skinned yellow crookneck, bright lemon yellow color. Highly productive.
- Golden Summer: 42 days. A crookneck with character, this warty and bumpy squash turns a deeper yellow as it matures.
- Butterstick: 50 days. This hybrid produces a yellow zucchini-type plant with a straight-neck squash. Bright yellow and firm textured.
- Gold Star: 50 days. Beautiful yellow crookneck squash with high yields. Harvest at 4-6″. Resistant to mosaic virii and powdery mildew.
- Early Prolific Straightneck: 50 days. Uniform lemon-yellow squash. 1938 heirloom with firm flesh and great quality.
Scalloped Squash Varieties
Little delightful discs! Scalloped squash, which are also known as pattypan squash, resemble blossoms in appearance. These delicious snacks are delightful when picked as a tiny summer squash or in its fully grown size. If you feel like having something different from typical squash, these are terrific.
- Scallop Yellow Bush: 49 days. Flat, round fruit in a bright yellow hue. Good stuffing squash!
- Early White Bush: 50 days. White, scalloped disc-shaped fruit! 1800’s heirloom. Good for patio growers.
- Peter Pan: 50 days. Miniature patty pan type, 1-3″ fruit. Sweet flavor on early-bearing plants.
- Sunburst: 52 days. Cone-shaped patty pan in a bright butter-yellow with a green blossom end. Great as baby squash or full-sized.
- Gelber Englischer: 60 days. Flat-topped fruit with a bulbous base that ranges from lemon yellow to almost pumpkin-orange. Good in cool climates.
- Benning’s Green Tint: 63 days. A pale green scalloped squash. Fruit best at 2-3″ in diameter.
Cousa Squash Varieties
Cousa, which is a type of Middle Eastern squash, has a fruit that is not very long, but is much thicker than usual. These vegetables, widely known as ball squash, may come in a variety of shades such as green, yellow, or even white. In their full-grown state, some of them have stripes running down their sides. They’re a nice variation from the more slender varieties.
- Desi: 40 days. Pale green baseball-sized fruit with a nutty, rich flavor. Heavily productive!
- Round Zucchini: 45 days. These heirlooms are mid-green with darker streaks and pale speckles. Great at 3-4″ diameter. Flower to fruit in a week!
- Rotem: 47 days. Stocky, marrow-type squash with light green skin. Very robust plant, easy to harvest.
- Cue Ball: 48 days. Pale green fruit with subtle white flecks, very productive with 2-3″ fruit. Resistant to mosaic virii and powdery mildew.
- Magda: 48 days. Sweet and nutty taste. 3-4″ long at harvest, used for stuffing, stir-frying and pickling.
- Ronde de Nice: 50 days. Nutty flavor with tender flesh. Harvest at 2-3″ in diameter. Beautiful mottled green coloring.
- Eight Ball: 50 days. Deep green and perfectly round, shiny fruit. Delicious sliced on a burger. 2-3″ diameter harvest.
- Summer Ball: 50 days. A golden version of eight ball with an open bushing habit. Less prone to blossom end greening.
- Green Eggs: 50 days. 5″ long oval squash, perfect for grilling. Beautiful dark green flesh and very tasty!
- Teot Bat Put: 65 days. Nicknamed avocado squash because of the shape, moschata variety. 4″ wide by 6″ long fruit.
- Tromboncino: 70 days. Unusual Italian summer squash with a long, crooked neck and a bulbous base. Can reach 3 feet long!
Falling into the winter squash category are popular varieties, like acorn, delicata, and butternut. Use it for soups, stuff it, and more.
This beautiful vegetable, with its hypnotizing dark green appearance, has a muted taste and a creamy, soft texture. There is no need to take off the thick skin, as once it is prepared, the flesh will separate from the skin of its own accord and can be eaten straight away. The most favored way to make this dish is to split the squash and take out the seeds, then bake it with the cut sides facing down, or fill it and bake it, like this Goat Cheese and Mushroom–Stuffed Acorn Squash which is perfect for an evening meal. Cutting into wedges and roasting with only a combination of olive oil, salt, and pepper is a regular occurrence. Be vigilant in searching for different kinds of acorn squash, including orange/golden or white varieties. They’re mighty pretty!
This winter squash is extremely popular, has a wide availability and is easy to prepare. Remove the top portion of the item by cutting it away from the bottom curves, then handle the two components one at a time. It is recommended to peel, cut in two, remove the seeds, and then cook by roasting, stewing, or boiling the eggplant. Butternut squash can be used in a variety of dishes, from soup to roasted vegetables to a delicious sauce for pasta. The orange-colored flesh of the food is sugary, yet it goes well with an assortment of flavors and seasonings. Don’t mistake buttercup squash for butternut. The exterior of buttercup squash is green, and it is short and dense in stature. The flesh of the orange is mild when cooked, though it is somewhat dry, and it is best cooked by boiling or steaming.
This winter squash looks like a work of art, boasting pale yellow skin with green stripes. The inside has a mild flavor that is a combination of sweet potato and butternut squash. The most ideal time to get delicata squash is from the end of summer to the end of autumn. This winter squash has the thinnest, edible skin of all the varieties, making it the most perishable. One way to make Delicata squash a real eye-catcher is to cut it in cross-sections ahead of time when preparing to roast, sear, or steam it; the scalloped edges will make it the star of the show! Put the rings into a pasta dish that has a creamy texture, or make a salad with winter greens, nuts, and cheese by layering the rings.
This type of winter squash, which is a mix of butternut and buttercup, has recently been created. It resembles a little butternut squash, however it has a darker, more orange-coloured peel and a tastier, more intense flavour. Similar to the way you would typically cook butternut squash, roast this variety to bring out its nutty sweetness. Cut the vegetable in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, brush with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and a bit of cinnamon or powder coriander (or both!). Once the roasting is finished, sprinkle with some cayenne pepper and add a few drops of maple syrup. One’s opinion of eating squash with its skin intact is up to them, yet the skin of a honeynut squash is so delicate that it doesn’t need to be taken away and can be consumed. This darling squash can be located in grocery stores and at farmer’s markets between September and December.
One of the largest types of winter squash, the Hubbard squash, can reach a weight of up to 20 pounds and comes in different colors, from bright orange to greyish-blue and even dark green. You should only purchase a squash that is no heavier than four pounds, as this is the best weight for cooking. The outer layer of the fruit is rough and bumpy, which ensures it lasts for as long as eight months. Inside, the flesh is a juicy, yellow-orange color. The meat has a high amount of sugar, but can be a bit mealy, making it great for puréeing (for example for a pie filling) or mashing. It’s available from early September to March.
This winter squash is known as Japanese pumpkin and has a green outer shell with lighter green streaks. It has an earthy taste, is only mildly sweet, and has a soft yet starchy texture. Typically, their weight is anywhere between two and three lbs, however, the heftiest of them can come up to eight pounds. Prepare the green kabocha in a way similar to acorn squash—whether by steaming or braising—as it takes in flavours extremely effectively. You can eat the skin of the squash, although it appears tough, but you should cut it in half and remove the seeds before doing so. Kabocha squash is suitable for both appetizing and sugary recipes: Experiment with pieces of kabocha squash that have been quick-fried and braised in a flavorful soy and mirin sauce or these delicious sticky buns.
This winter squash that can be purchased throughout the year is the most exciting among them. Once the cooking is done, its pale and delicate flesh can be broken down into thin, spaghetti-like laces with a fork. Some domestic chefs enjoy substituting this squash for pasta, and it tastes great. Consider making a Cacio e Pepe dish by combining the noodles with butter and lots of grated Pecorino cheese, and a generous helping of freshly ground black pepper.
This pumpkin belongs to the gourd family, which encompasses all the types of squash. It is an excellent ingredient for baking, and its texture is smooth and delicious. It not only tastes great, but the skin of this type is simpler to remove compared to bigger ones. Gather pumpkins weighing up to five pounds and mash them in order to create a purée for the desired pumpkin pie recipe. Try making stews and soups with it for a savory flavor. Don’t choose the orange pumpkin that’s mainly used for decoration, as its insides are tasteless and fibrous.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are all summer squashes yellow in color?
A: Although numerous yellow squashes are classified as summer squash, there are many other kinds of summer squash that aren’t yellow in color. An intriguing variety of yellow squash is the yellow zucchini.
Q: How do winter squash and summer squash differ?
A: Summer squash generally has a softer outer layer than winter squash due to its earlier harvesting time.
Q: Is it OK to eat summer squash raw?
A: If the summer squash is still young and tender, you can eat it uncooked, instead of when it is more fibrous.