There are many squash varieties:
Acorn Squash - The Acorn Squash is a gorgeous sweet tasting squash with a soft and tender flesh and a beautiful mid to dark green skin. Its name comes from its shape which is very much like that of an acorn. Available year round.
Ambercup - A relative of the buttercup squash that resembles a small pumpkin with orange skin. Bright orange flesh has a dry sweet taste. Peel it, cube the flesh, roast it, and serve like cut-up sweet potatoes. Has an extraordinarily long storage life. Available June to November.
Autumn Cup - A hybrid semi-bush Buttercup/kabocha type dark green squash. Rich flavored flesh and high yields. Fruit size 6 inches with a weight of about 2 to 3 pounds.Flesh is yellow/orange meat that is stringless, dry, and sweet.
Available September through December.
Banana Squash - In shape and skin color, this winter squash is reminiscent of a banana. It grows up to two feet in length and about six inches in diameter. Its bright orange, finely-textured flesh is sweet. Banana squash is often available cut into smaller pieces. Available year-round - peak season lasts summer through early fall.
Buttercup Squash - Buttercup Squash are part of the Turban squash family (hard shells with turban-like shapes) and are a popular variety of winter squash. This squash has a dark-green skin, sometimes accented with lighter green streaks.Has a sweet and creamy orange flesh. This squash is much sweeter than other winter varieties. Buttercup Squash can be baked, mashed, pureed, steamed, simmered, or stuffed and can replace Sweet Potatoes in most recipes. Available year-round - peak season lasts from early fall through winter.
Butternut Squash - Butternut squash is now probably the most commonly consumed squash in the UK and US. It is the sweetest of the different types of squash and is beautiful mashed as an accompaniment to a meal. It can also be roasted with other winter vegetables. Just add a pinch of salt to get a slightly less sweet flavor. Available year-round - peak season lasts from early fall through winter.
Carnival - Cream colored with orange spots or pale green with dark green spots in vertical stripes. Carnival Squash have hard, thick skins and only the flesh is eaten. It is sometimes labeled as a type of acorn squash.The delicious yellow meat is reminiscent of sweet potatoes and butternut squash and can be baked or steamed then combined with butter and fresh herbs. Also great in soups. Available year-round - is best late summer through early fall.
Delicata - The Delicata Squash is very pretty and small and looks like marrow. Its skin is white with mid green streaks and is edible. The flesh inside is slightly more dry than other varieties but tastes sweet. This squash doesn’t last as long as other types so you should check them for damaged skin before buying. Available year-round - is best late summer through early fall.
Gold Nugget - A variety of winter squash, which is sometimes referred to as an Oriental pumpkin that has the appearance of a small pumpkin in shape and color. It ranges in size from one to three pounds. Golden nugget squashes are small, weighing on average about 1 pound. Both the skin and the flesh are orange. Gold Nugget Squash may be cooked whole or split lengthwise (removing seeds). Pierce whole squash in several places, and bake halved squash hollow side up. Available year-round - is best season is late summer through early winter.
Hubbard - The extra-hard skins make them one of the best keeping winter squashes. These are very large and irregularly shaped, with a skin that is quite "warted" and irregular. They range from big to enormous, have a blue/gray skin, and taper at the ends. Like all winter squash, they have an inedible skin, large, fully developed seeds that must be scooped out, and a dense flesh. Hubbard squash is often sold in pieces because it can grow to very large sizes. The yellow flesh of these tends to be very moist and longer cooking times in the oven are needed. They are generally peeled and boiled, cut up and roasted, or cut small and steamed or sautéed. It's perfect for pies.
Hubbard squash, if in good condition initially, can be successfully stored 6 months at 50 to 55 degree F. with 70% relative humidity. Less rot will develop in the Hubbard squash if stems are completely removed before storage. Hubbard squash and other dark-green-skinned squashes should not be stored near apples, as the ethylene from apples may cause the skin to turn orange-yellow. Available year-round - peak season is early fall throughout winter.
Kabocha Squash - Kabocha is the generic Japanese word for squash, but refers most commonly to a squash of the buttercup type. This squash has a green, bluish-gray or a deep orange skin. The flesh is deep yellow.
(Also known as a Ebisu, Delica, Hoka, Hokkaido, or Japanese Pumpkin)
Kobocha Squash may be cooked whole or split lengthwise (removing seeds). It has a rich sweet flavor, and often dry and flaky when cooked. Use in any dish in which buttercup squash would work. Available year-round.
Spaghetti Squash - This is a very popular choice due to its unusual texture. When cooked right the flesh comes off in strands that resemble spaghetti hence the name. It is sometimes served just like spaghetti with tomato sauce – very tasty in winter!
Sweet Dumpling - This small, mildly sweet-tasting squash resembles a miniature pumpkin with its top pushed in. It has cream-colored skin with green specks. Weighing only about 7 ounces, it has sweet and tender orange flesh and is a great size for stuffing and baking as individual servings. Sweet dumplings are tiny but great for roasting and presenting whole. Available throughout the fall.
Turban - Named for its shape. Turban Squash has colors that vary from bright orange, to green or white. It has golden-yellow flesh and its taste is reminiscent to hazelnut. Has a bulblike cap swelling from its blossom end, come in bizarre shapes with extravagant coloration that makes them popular as harvest ornamentals.It is popular for centerpieces, and its top can be sliced off so it can be hollowed and filled with soup. A larger variety of the buttercup squash, the turban has a bright orange-red rind. Its flesh and storage ability are comparable to the buttercup squash. Use in recipes that call or pie or sugar pumpkin. Available year-round - season is late summer through early fall.
The Health Benefits Of Pumpkin And Squash
So, now you know all the lovely varieties that you can get your mits on, it’s time to learn about how they can make you healthier, younger and stronger for longer.
First off, pumpkin and squash contain very few calories with 100g of pumpkin containing as little as 25 calories. You won’t find any saturated fats in there either, nor any cholesterol – this is why pumpkin is so commonly recommended for weight loss and cholesterol management.
Pumpkin and squash is also a very, very powerful antioxidant rich food that contains lots of cancer fighting flavanoids. It is also rich in vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin A is another antioxidant and aids healthy vision, keeps the skin looking young and healthy and protects against certain cancers including lung and some oral cancers.
Pumpkin and squash also contain high levels of the B-complex vitamins which are essential for many, many healthy functions within the body.
If you eat pumpkin with the seeds too, there are even more benefits to enjoy. Pumpkin seeds contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system while the high content of fiber helps to keep your digestive system healthy. 100g of the seeds also contains more than 100% of the RDA of iron and over 70% of the RDA of zinc.
So there you have it – it is clear to see why pumpkin is so popular and why the health conscious love the autumn season when this tasty and bright fruit is abundant.