A Guide to Winter Squashes

Acorn, butternut, spaghettie, or pumpkin - whichever one you fancy, winter is the time to enjoy squash

Learn how to prepare your favourite winter squash

‘Tis the Season for squash! Follow this helpful guide for how to prepare and cook these delicious veggies

Fall and winter’s bounty includes many delectable varieties of squash, all of which are good sources of antioxidant beta-carotene, fibre and potassium. If you’ve never really given this nutritious, great-tasting veggie a chance before, now’s the time to start.

Acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash skins can be hard to cut through (and should not be eaten), but when they’re are cut open and the seeds are removed, the flesh can be scooped out and steamed, mashed, roasted or puréed. Here are some guidelines on squashes and how best to prepare them:

Winter Squash Guide

Type Appearance Taste/Texture Cooking Tip Nutrition per cup/250 mL
Acorn About 15 cm long, dark green skin, deep furrow, yellow-orange flesh Dry, nut-like flavour Cut in half, remove seeds, place cuti-side down in pan with 1 cm of water; back 45 minutes 115 calories, vitamins A, C, B6, thiamine and minerals; very low fat
Butternut Elongated bell-shaped, light brown skin, orange flesh Slightly sweet butterscotch flavour Baking or roasting brings out the sweetness – bake in slices as an alternative to potatoes 82 calories, vitamins A, C and E, plus lots of minerals; almost no fat
Spaghetti Yellow, oval-shaped, about 20 cm long Crisp spaghetti strands can be removed from cooked squash with a fork Microwave squash that has been cut in half, seeds removed – about 8 to 10 minutes 42 calories, some vitamins and minerals; very low fat
Pumpkin Large, orange skin with lighter orange flesh; smaller varieties are available, which are often sweeter Fresh can be slightly watery; mild taste Boil cubed flesh and then purée to make soup, or add to pies and other baked goods 49 calories, vitamin A, small amounts of other vitamins and minerals; no fat

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.