Winter squash have hard, thick skins, seeds in the middle, and dense, firm flesh that ranges from pale yellow to deep orange. They also require longer cooking times than other vegetables. Well-known varieties of winter squash include acorn, buttercup, butternut, Hubbard, spaghetti, and turban. Winter squash are good sources of vitamins A and C, as well as riboflavin and iron.
Try our recipe for Butternut Squash Bake
How to Peel and Chop Winter Squash
Step 1: Remove stem end
Using a large, sturdy knife, cut off about 1 inch from the stem end of the squash.
Step 3: Remove seeds
- Using a large spoon, scrape the seeds and fibrous strings from each squash half.
- You may discard the seeds or save them for roasting.
Check out our Roasted Seeds recipe
Baking Winter Squash
Baking is the simplest way to cook squash because it doesn¿t require peeling the squash first.
How to bake winter squash:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Using a sharp, sturdy knife, cut the winter squash in half. Use a large, sturdy spoon to remove the seeds.
- Place the squash halves in a shallow roasting pan, cut sides up.
- Place 1 tablespoon butter in each squash half. If desired, sprinkle each half with salt, brown sugar, fresh or dried herbs, and/or cinnamon-sugar. You may also drizzle each half with honey or maple syrup.
- Bake the squash for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender.
- Allow the squash to cool slightly after baking. Slice the squash halves into individual servings or scrape the flesh into a bowl.
Tip:If using small winter squash, each baked half may be served whole.
See our Baked Butternut Squash with Thyme recipe
Cooking with Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash differs from other varieties of winter squash because it possesses a mild, less-sweet flavor and very fibrous flesh that, when removed, looks like spaghetti.
To remove the flesh from a baked spaghetti squash:
- Use a fork to loosen the fibers.
- Using a large, sturdy spoon, scrape the fibers from the squash.
- Serve spaghetti squash in place of pasta with various sauces, such as Bolognese Sauce
See Bolognese Sauce recipe