Many gardeners enjoy squash as there are so many different varieties to choose from and they come with many health benefits. They are also very versatile and there are many different ways you can enjoy eating them. Though many people know about butternut squash or zucchinis, there are some rare types of squash that are also great for growing in your garden as well.
Though some of these varieties of squash are not as well known, they are still delicious and make a great addition to your garden. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, making them particularly fun to grow. No matter your experience level of gardening, you can try your hand at some of these unique and unusual squash.
What Is A Squash?
Squash is a family of plants that comes in many varieties. The varieties can be broken down into winter or summer squash. Though culinarily it is considered to be a vegetable, botanically it is technically a fruit since it contains fruit.
Squash is generally mild tasting and is great for use in both savory and sweet recipes. They come with many great health benefits, making them a great addition to your diet. Though there are several varieties, they are all fleshy with a rine for protection.
Winter vs Summer
The major difference between summer squash and winter squash is their skins. Winter squash has tough skins that are not edible whereas summer squash has thin skins that you can eat. In addition, summer varieties tend to have more tender flesh that is quite moist.
Winter squash is often harvested from late summer to early winter. It is not commonly eaten raw but is popular for sauteing, roasting, grilling, and baking. Popular winter squash includes butternut and spaghetti.
Summer squash is harvested all throughout the summertime. It can be eaten raw, but it is also great for baking, grilling, sauteing, steaming, and roasting. Popular varieties of summer squash include zucchini, yellow squash, and pattypan.
Summer squash will often only last a few days after picking. However, winter varieties can last much longer, but they must be picked at maturity as they will not ripen any more after you harvest them.
Types Of Rare Squash
There are many different varieties of squash available today. Though you will often come across zucchini, pattypan, yellow squash, butternut squash, and spaghetti squash, these varieties are much less common. However, though they might not be as popular as other varieties, they are still great to grow and eat.
Though squash can come in summer or winter types, there tend to be more unusual winter squash varieties. They come in all sorts of shapes and varieties and make for a fun addition to your garden.
Carnival squash is a relatively new variety that is a cross between acorn squash and sweet dumpling squash. It is generally small to medium in size with ridged edges, coming in golden to creamy pale yellow with flecks of green. The flesh is tender and creamy while being a touch sweet.
You can find Carnival squash at specialty markets in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. It is great for soups and roasting.
Turban squash or Turk’s Turban or French Turban first gained recognition in 1818 in France. It is a unique squash that looks like a mushroom. Oftentimes it is a combination of orange, green, and creamy white in color.
Turban squash makes a beautiful decorative centerpiece and is also great for eating as well. It is good for making stews and soups as well as roasting. It is sold across America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Delicata squash, also known as bohemian squash, peanut squash, and sweet potato squash, grows in an oblong shape. It is generally bright yellow in color with green stripes and has a mild yet sweet flavor along with a tender rind. It is great for use in baked goods such as muffins, bread, and cakes, along with soups.
Lakota squash is pear-shaped in appearance with orange and green stripes. Not only does it make a beautiful fall decoration, but it is also great for eating as well, particularly as a soup. It has a rich history as it took over a century to create.
With a squatty round shape and dark green skin, buttercup squash has a unique appearance. Though they are often decorative, they have sweet, creamy flesh. They can be great for using in baked goods, pasta, and soups.
Kabocha makes up a small family of squashes, such as Sunshine Kabocha, which is often referred to as Japanese pumpkins. They have dark green skin with green or white stripes and are the sweetest of all the winter varieties. They have many uses including soup, pies, and baked goods, as they taste similar to sweet potatoes.
Blue Hubbard is a large variety of squash that range in weight from 12 to 20 pounds. They have a light blue coloring with a taste similar to sweet potatoes. Dense and starchy, they are great for roasting, soups, and pies.
Honeynut squash comes from butternut and buttercup squash. They look like mini butternut squash but they have a richer orange coloring and sweeter flavor. They are great for many recipes including roasting, soups, and sauteing.
Red Kuri squash has a distinctive teardrop shape with bright orange skin. They originate from Japan and have flesh that is delicate with a nutty flavor. It is a great variety for making soups, roasting, and grilling.
Unique And Unusual Squash Varieties
These weird-looking squash may seem unusual, but they are actually great to use in many different recipes. They are great for growing in your own garden and are awesome for cooking and baking within your kitchen. In addition, they come with many great health benefits that squash is famous for.
Do you have any questions regarding rare types of squash? If so, please ask any squash-related questions on these unique varieties in the comment section down below.