With harvest time comes an abundance of autumn and winter squash. These fruits, eaten like vegetables, are available in a wide range of shapes and colors. With their versatility and health benefits, squash deserve to be better known and occupy a larger place on the menu.

The different types of squash

Each type of squash differs in appearance, but they all have a thick, hard skin that allows them to be stored for a long time, from 3 to 12 months. Beneath this tough skin lies a mass of edible seeds and a fibrous and/or velvety flesh.

There are over 100 winter squashes. Here are the most popular:


Emblematic of Halloween, pumpkins vary greatly in shape and size. Pie pumpkins are small and sweet, while decorative pumpkins are larger and less sweet. Although orange pumpkins are the most widely grown, white pumpkins are just as delicious.

Pumpkin varieties

Butternut squash

Recognized by its bulbous or pear-shaped appearance. Beneath its smooth, beige skin, butternut squash has a semi-sweet flesh that makes excellent stews and soups.

Squash varieties: Butternut squash

Butternut squash

This small, round squash has a dark green skin with gray markings. Its orange flesh is non-fibrous and quite sweet. Its round shape makes it easy to stuff.

Squash varieties: Buttercup squash

Acorn squash

Acorn squash lives up to its name. Its pale flesh has a peppery, nutty flavor reminiscent of its acorn shape. It is usually served grilled as a side dish. Acorn squash has a dark green to white skin with vertical veins.

Squash varieties: Acorn squash

Hubbard squash 

Resembles an elongated lemon with a thick, rough skin, ranging in color from gray/blue to bright orange. Slightly less sweet, Hubbard squash flesh is highly versatile.

Squash varieties: Hubbard squash

Spaghetti squash

One of the most popular squashes. Oval and yellow-skinned, its sweet-tasting flesh is very fibrous. Once cooked, it is scraped with a fork to produce spaghetti-like strands.

Squash varieties: Spaghetti squash

Stripetti squash

Cousin of the spaghetti squash, its skin is green with yellow and/or beige longitudinal stripes. It is cooked and prepared in the same way as spaghetti squash.

Squash varieties: Stripetti squash

Dumpling squash

Dumpling squash is shaped like a bell pepper, and ranges in color from white to green, yellow and orange. Its edible skin is striped with pale or dark spots. It is eaten grilled in quarters, lightly seasoned.

Squash varieties: Dumpling squash

Aladdin squash

Often called Aladdin's turban, this squash seems to be a fusion of two. Its mild, sweet flavor makes it an excellent choice for desserts and curries. A champion of storage, it can be kept for up to 1 year!

 Squash varieties: Aladin squash

Highlights of squash nutrition

Squash is a delicious and versatile winter vegetable with many nutritional benefits. Here are some of the nutritional highlights of squash:

Low-calorie: Squash is generally low in calories, making it an excellent choice for those watching their calorie intake.

High in fiber: Squash is a good source of dietary fiber, which promotes digestive health, regulates blood sugar and contributes to satiety.

Rich in vitamins: Squash is rich in vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and various B vitamins. These vitamins are essential for a healthy immune system, healthy skin, blood clotting and metabolism.

High carotenoid content: Carotenoids are orange pigments rich in vitamins C and A found in certain fruits and vegetables, notably carrots, oranges and squash. These molecules are highly recognized for their ability to protect against cancer and boost the immune system.

Essential minerals : Squash contains minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium, which are important for bone health, blood pressure regulation and red blood cell formation.

Antioxidants : Squash's greatest asset is undoubtedly its antioxidant content. Antioxidants keep cells healthy and protect the body against many diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. On a global scale, squash is the food that provides the most antioxidants. Squash is rich in antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, which can help neutralize free radicals in the body, reducing the risk of chronic disease.

Blood sugar regulation: The fiber content of squash helps stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream.

Essential fatty acids : Certain varieties of squash, such as pumpkin seeds, provide essential fatty acids such as omega-3, which are beneficial for cardiovascular health and brain function.

Hydration: Squash has a high water content, which helps keep the body hydrated.

Support for eye health: Due to their high vitamin A and beta-carotene content, squash support eye health and can help prevent certain eye diseases.

Culinary versatility: Squash can be prepared in a variety of ways, adding a variety of flavors and textures to meals. This makes it easy to integrate these vegetables into a balanced diet.

It's important to note that nutritional benefits can vary according to squash type, preparation and cooking. Incorporating a variety of squash into your diet can contribute to a healthy, balanced diet.

Choosing and storing squash

How to choose a squash:

External appearance: Look for a squash with firm skin, free of cracks or bumps. Skin color may vary by variety, but it should be uniform and free of blemishes or discoloration.

Weight: Choose a squash that is heavy for its size. This may indicate dense, juicy flesh.

Stem: The stem of the squash should be intact. A dry or broken stem may indicate that the squash is old or has been mishandled.

Texture: Run your hand over the skin to check that it is smooth, with no soft spots. Squash should feel firm to the touch.

Density: Squash should be dense, indicating well-formed flesh. Avoid those that appear light for their size.

Color : Squash color can vary depending on the variety, but it should be bright and attractive. Avoid squash with discolored areas or abrupt color changes.

Storing squash:

Cool, dry place: Store squash in a cool, dry place, preferably between 10 and 13 degrees Celsius. Cool cellars or pantries are ideal.

Ventilation: Make sure the storage area is well ventilated. Avoid plastic bags, which trap moisture.

Regular inspection: Examine squash regularly for signs of rot or deterioration. Use those showing signs of aging first.

Avoid refrigeration: Squashes don't like humidity in the fridge. Avoid storing them in this area, unless they are already cut.

Avoid fruit: Keep squash away from fruits that give off ethylene, as this can accelerate ripening.

Short-term storage: If you plan to eat squash quickly, they can be stored at room temperature for a few weeks.

Long-term storage: For longer-term storage, opt for a cooler, darker place. Some varieties of squash can be stored for several months under ideal conditions.

Tips for preparing squash

Preparing squash

Wash thoroughly : Before cutting or cooking squash, wash it with water to remove any dirt or external residue.

Peel if necessary: Some squash, such as butternut and butternut squash, may need to be peeled. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin.

Cut with care: Squash can be difficult to cut due to their tough skin and shape. Use a sharp knife and take care to avoid injury.

Remove seeds: Before cooking squash, remove the seeds and fibrous filaments. You can roast them separately for a nutritious snack.

Cooking squash

Steaming or baking: Most squash can be steamed or baked. Peel the squash and dice the flesh into ½ to 1 cubic inch cubes. The cubes can then be steamed, sautéed, or roasted in the oven. Cut into uniform pieces for more even cooking.

Using the microwave : If time is short, you can quickly cook squash pieces in the microwave. Pierce the skin with a fork before cooking.

Whole cooking: For some smaller squashes, such as spaghetti squash, you can cook them whole in the oven before opening them and removing the seeds.

Seasoning: Squashes have a mild flavor and absorb flavors well. Season them with herbs, spices, garlic, salt and pepper to enhance their flavour.

Use in soups and stews: Squash can be an excellent addition to soups or stews, adding a velvety texture and sweet flavor.

Freezing leftovers: If you have extra pieces of cooked squash, freeze them for later use in purees, soups or side dishes.

Pureeing: Cooked squash can be pureed and used in recipes for cakes, muffins, pancakes, etc. Place squash halves face down on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes at 350oF. Squash will be tender and easy to scoop out.

Seed preparation: Spread rinsed and dried seeds on a baking sheet and roast at 350oF for 15 to 20 minutes. This will preserve the integrity of the good oils in the seeds.

Association with other ingredients : Experiment by combining squash with other ingredients such as nuts, cheese, fresh herbs, or fruit to create varied and tasty dishes.

Don't be afraid to experiment with squash in the kitchen, as it's versatile and can be used in many different ways.

Why choose organic squash?

Opting for organic squash offers a number of environmental and health benefits. Here are just a few reasons to choose organic squash:

Absence of pesticides and chemical fertilizers: Organic crops use farming methods that exclude the use of synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers used in conventional farming can leave residues that contaminate soil, water and air. By choosing organic squash, you reduce your exposure to potentially harmful pesticide residues, and help reduce these negative impacts on the environment.

Respect for the environment: Organic farming practices are designed to maintain soil health, prevent water pollution and reduce the negative impact on the ecosystem. By promoting organic squash, you're helping to support more environmentally-friendly farming methods.

Nutritional quality : Some studies suggest that organic produce, including squash, may have higher levels of certain nutrients than their conventional counterparts.

No genetically modified organisms (GMOs): Organic products generally exclude genetically modified organisms. If you prefer to avoid GMOs, choosing organic squash is a no-brainer.

Encouraging sustainable agriculture: Organic farming encourages sustainable agricultural practices that preserve biodiversity, maintain soil fertility and minimize damage to the environment.

Support for local farmers: Often, organic farmers are local farmers who use environmentally-friendly practices. By purchasing organic products, you support these farmers and encourage the development of sustainable agriculture at local level.

Recipes with Squash

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