Name that squash
Wednesday, 22nd January 2020 by Chen
squash varieties


You'll see loads of varieties of squash in the veg bags during the year. They each have slightly different characteristics, but the main difference is between summer varieties (such as courgettes, pattipan, gem) and winter varieties (shown above), which have firmer flesh and a nuttier, sweeter, fuller flavour.

Once you've identified your variety, check out our guide to cooking squash.

Kabocha  (the Japanese word for pumpkin) - nutty, earthy flavour and yellow flesh. The red tends to be sweeter than the green

Butternut - the easy peeler of the squash world (though the skin is edible too) with bright orange, sweet flesh

Carnival or festival - similar to acorn and sweet dumpling, a mellow, sweet variety with firm flesh

Sugar pumpkin - a smaller version of the classic carving pumpkin

Sweet dumpling or harlequin - honeyish taste similar to sweet potato

Spaghetti - mild-tasting with distinctive stringy flesh. Scrape the cooked flesh with a fork and see why it has its name

Blue hubbard or blue ballet - hard skin, sweet and nutty orange flesh

Delicata - creamy, soft and nutty flesh with a hint of sweetcorn. Edible skin. Versatile but doesn't store well.

Red kuri or red onion or hokkaido - firm flesh with a chestnutty flavour

Bonbon or buttercup - circular ridge on the base, sometimes with a distinct bump or turban (see below)

Acorn - mild and sweet tasting with a tough skin, good for stuffing and baking 


As well as the varieties shown above, your veg bags and farmers' market might also feature some of the following: 

Baked potato squash

Baked potato squash - a variety of Acorn that cooks quicker than a potato but has a similar taste and texture when baked



Casperita - small variety with sweet, pale flesh



Hokkaido - closely related to red kuri, firm and nutty



Harlequin - mellow and sweet


Crown prince

Crown prince - very large, so usually delivered in cut pieces


Confection - greeny-grey skin and smooth, sweet, yellow flesh.

Table star

Table star - sweet orange flesh


Turban or Turk's turban

Turban or Turk's turban - magnificent thick skin. Hard to peel, so ideally roast, then scrape out flesh. Or use as table ornament to impress your friends!


Sunburst or pattypan

Sunburst or pattipan - a summer squash with hard skin and soft, mild flesh

Thanks to Jovina Cooks Italian for the main picture.