7 Varieties of Winter Squash You Should Be Spiralizing
It’s that time of the year where your produce aisle is filled with beautiful yet oddly shaped squashes. You really want to pick one up but your first thought is, “how do I even prepare this thing?” at which point you quickly put it down and walk away.
They vary in sizes, shapes, flavors, and textures but they're all excellent sources of vitamin A, vitamin B, and beta-carotene. The most common winter squashes to enter your kitchen are butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and pumpkin.
Quick, Easy Guide to Preparing Your Squash
Before you start cooking, learn how to prep your winter squash. As a general rule, when making a puree, microwave your squash prior to peeling to soften the skin. If roasting or baking your squash, no need to microwave or peel, just cut your squash into manageable sizes and remove the seeds prior to cooking.
- Cut your pumpkin into a manageable sizes like halves, thirds, or quarters and remove the seeds.
- Place these pieces in the microwave for 3-5 minutes or until the skin softens. Set aside to cool.
- Once cooled, use a peeler or sharp knive to peel the skin and cut or dice your squash to prepare your dish.
- Cut the bottom off your squash to create a flat surface. Tip: cut where the bulbous part of the squash begins, and then cut the top of the stem off.
- Using a peeler, remove the skin from each section.
- Slice each section length wise, remove seeds with a spoon and slice, dice, or spiralize as needed to prepare your dish.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut your squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
- Bake squash on a baking sheet for 30-35 minutes or until tender and rake the flesh of the squash using a fork to get a spaghetti consistency.
Don't feel like going through all the effort to make squash noodles? Get a Veggie Bullet! It makes spiralizing squash and other veggies easy.
Cooking Tips for Rare Winter Squash
Kabocha is green on the outside which hints of orange tones. When raw, the texture is similar to that of a sweet potato or a pumpkin. This squash is perfect for steaming or baking. The skin is edible however you can choose to peel it, just to careful to not nick your finger. To peel a kabocha start by cutting the squash along the ridges, then peel each section with a sharp peeler.
Delicata is an oblong squash that is often referred to as a “sweet potato squash”. Because of its shape, it’s easy to dice them or cut them lengthwise and feed them through the Veggie Bullet for quick spiralized noodles. You can also shred them or slice them.
The skin is tough on delicata is tough so before trying to peel it, put it in the microwave to soften it. To do this, cut the squash in half lengthwise then place one half of the squash skin side up in the microwave for 3 to 5 minutes. The longer it is microwaved, the softer the skin and the flesh. Carefully peel the cooled squash with a sharp peeler. Once peeled you can bake or roast delicata. You can even shred it and form patties as an alternative to Latkes.
Buttercup squash is round like the kabocha and has a sweet, nutty flavor like caramel and peanuts when it's cooked. Slice, dice then roast, steam, or bake, you can't go wrong with butternut squash.
Named after it's shape, the acorn squash has dense flesh and is green in color. Acorns with shades of orange have a tougher, more fibrous flesh. Eaten with or without the skin, acorn squash is bright and sweet and great roasted, baked, or as a puree. Cut a small slice off the bottom and use the shell as a vessel for soups and dips!