Home & Garden Squash Lovers, Rejoice: Here's Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know
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Types of Summer Squash| Types of Winter Squash
Sure, tomatoes are the rock stars of the garden—flashy and popular, but they often don't last long. But, oh, squash! You come in so many different flavors and textures, and you last a long, long time. How could we not love you? If you're, just a few plants will bear enough for your family with plenty leftover for sharing with the neighbors. And there are hundreds of different kinds, typically divided into and . What's the difference? "Summer squash is harvested in the warm weather months and doesn’t store for long,” says Josh Kirschenbaum, vegetable account manager at . "Winter squash is harvested in the fall and has a hard rind, which allows it to keep well for months.”
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Are your plants not looking as lush and colorful as you hoped? Make sure you haven't made any of these missteps.
Here are a few of our favorite squash varieties with growing and cooking tips:
Summer squash are bush types (with a few exceptions that grow on vines) that take up less room in your garden. “Less” is relative because most still need 3 to 4 feet of space in every direction to grow. Pick summer squash when it’s small and tender, not big and seedy. And keep picking to keep the harvest going!
Your grandma probably grew this reliable, high-yielding type in her back yard. Perfect for grilling, sautéing, or baking in quick breads and cakes. If you too many to use in, use your food processor to grate it and freeze; then pull it out to make a frittata or quick bread later.
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Whether you’re a full-blown vegetarian or simply scaling back on your carnivorous ways, there are plenty of healthy and budget-friendly big-batch meatless feasts that will last you and your family well past Monday. Consider this a more casual form of vegetarian meal prep. And if you’re concerned about serving the same meal over and over again, not to worry. Many of these options can be adapted over subsequent servings: a main one evening, a side the next, then repurposed into a brand new dish. They’re truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Types of Zucchini: Bossa Nova, Easy Pick Green, Cocozelle, Gold Rush
These cute little guys are prolific producers. Roast or grill them whole, or harvest them larger and stuff with rice, meat, and veggies.
Types of Round Zucchini: Eight Ball, Papaya Pear
With rounded bottoms and curved necks, these kinds of squash are best picked when no more than 4 to 6 inches long so they’re tender, not tough. If you wait too long, they get unpleasantly seedy.
Types of Crookneck Squash: Yellow Crookneck, Gold Star
Patty Pan Squash
These adorable,can be grilled whole when 2 to 3 inches wide, or for larger fruits, dice and sauté and toss over pasta.
I Just Learned the Squash You're Buying at the Grocery Store Could Be from Last Year
It's fine to eat, but you might want to prep it differently. Thing is, you can probably find your favorite squash any time of the year, but the warmth of a roasted acorn squash probably isn't on your radar in July. (Look for a wooden crate tucked away in the corner of the store to find them during the spring and summer.) Perry, a former magazine food stylist, got clued into squash's year-round presence when she would photograph fall recipes in the late spring and squash was readily available. Winter squash doesn't have a natural spring harvest.
Types of Patty Pan Squash: Benning’s Green Tint, Sunburst
Some people say these squat, oval-shaped Middle Eastern types are the best-tasting of the summer squash. Steam, sauté, or stuff ‘em!
Types of Cousa Squash: Lebanese White Bush Marrow, Magda
These heat-tolerant heirlooms are fast growers. They grow on a vine (unlike most summer squash) that can quickly reach 10 feet long, so be sure you have plenty of space if you choose to grow them yourself! Firm, sweet white flesh has more flavor than many other kinds of summer squash. Harvest when the fruits are the size of softballs.
The slender, curvy fruits of thisare firm and less seedy than many types. Train them up a trellis or fence because their 15-foot-long vines will crowd everything else out in your garden if you don't keep them in check. Harvest when 8 to 12 inches long.
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When canned pumpkin moves from the nether shelves of your grocery store into high visibility spaces, a cooking mindset switch is flipped: grilling season must be coming to a close. Fall has arrived, and with it a changeup of our grocery shopping lists and go-to recipes. Welcome back to the season where the thought of firing up the stove or oven is warming—emotionally and practically—rather than stifling. Along with the chill in the air comes the annual return to the kitchen, and a restocking of the pantry with fall staples that inspire autumnal cooking projects.
Winter squash need tons of room to stretch because their vines sprawl 10 to 15 feet in every direction; train the plants up a trellis or fence to conserve space. Harvest winter squash when the rind can’t be pierced with your thumbnail, around the time when the vines wither or even right after the first light frost.
Shaped like its namesake, these popular winter squash are reliable performers. They’re best baked or stuffed.
Types of Acorn Squash: Honey Bear, Jester
These easy-to-grow, turban-shaped squash store well into late winter and are buttery-sweet and satiny when baked and mashed. Bake, puree, and add olive oil and romano cheese for an out-of-this-world sauce to toss with pasta.
Types of Buttercup Squash: Burgess, Bonbon
Butternuts typically are cylindrical with a bulb-shaped end and a classic, tan rind. You’ll need a few weeks of storage for the flavor to develop, but they last for months and months. They are prolific producers! Bake, sauté, or add to stews.
Types of Butternut Squash: Honeybaby, Waltham
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This heirloom variety has cream and green-striped oblong fruits about 3 inches wide and 6 inches long. They’re extremely tender with a flavor reminiscent of sweet potatoes. Even the rind is edible. Heads up: They don't store quite as long as some of the other winter squashes.
Types of Delicata Squash: Bush Delicata
These multi-colored squashes with a squat little shape are both pretty and edible. They’re prolific producers, and they can be baked, grilled, steamed, or stuffed.
Types of Dumpling Squash: Sweet Dumpling, Carnival
These squash, popular in New England, have a tough, bumpy rind and range in color from bright orange to a gorgeous aqua-blue color. Some varieties weigh in at 12 to 15 pounds each! Roast the medium-sweet flesh, or chunk it for stews.
Types of Hubbard Squash: Red Kuri, Blue Ballet
These Japanese squash are similar in appearance to buttercup with a flavor that’s reminiscent of sweet potatoes. Bake, steam, or puree in soups.
Types of Kabocha Squash: Sunshine, Hokkori
actually are a type of winter squash, so they’re not just for carving! Bake, steam, put in stews, and roast the seeds. They're easy to grow!
Types of Pumpkin Squash: Pepitas, Super Moon, Hijinks
These oblong-shaped squash have stringy flesh you can scrape out after cooking to create spaghetti-like strands. Use as a pasta substitute or in soups.
Types of Spaghetti Squash: Sugaretti, Tivoli
Don't Roast That Butternut Squash. Make This Crunchy Salad Instead. .
A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else—flavor, creativity, wow factor. Psst: We don't count water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (specifically, 1/2 cup or less of olive oil, vegetable oil, and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. Today, we’re enjoying butternut squash in its natural state. Our site has its fair share of butternut squash recipes, most of which take place in the oven or on the stove. See: these caramelized wedges with sage pesto, this garlicky galette, these crunchy chips, this cider-spiked soup, and hundreds more.