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Winter Squash is Back on the Menu! Part 2

September 30, 2015 by Dean Simmons, Registered Dietitian

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Winter Squash is Back on the Menu! Part 2

In Part 1 of this series you learned about buying and storing winter squash. Read on to learn more about using winter squash  in your kitchen.

Make the most of winter squash! Here are answers to common questions about how to prepare this seasonal delight.

Can I eat the field pumpkin I bought to make a jack-o-lantern?

  • Yes, but it’s not recommended. Field pumpkins grown for jack-o-lanterns tend to have very little flavour and watery stringy flesh.

Can I eat the seeds of my squash?

  • You bet! Roasted squash seeds are a delicious and healthy treat. Some types of squash, like the kakai and lady godiva pumpkin, even have green hull-less seeds that are perfect for roasting.
  • Scoop the seeds out of the squash and roughly separate them from the pulp. (Washing and drying the seeds is an optional next step). In a bowl, toss the seeds with a little vegetable oil and seasoning. The seasoning can be sweet or savoury, you choose. Place the seeds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 300°F. Stir the roasting seeds every 10 minutes or so for even cooking. Roast until the seeds begin to brown and get crisp. Remove from oven and let cool on countertop.

Do I have to peel that hard skin off?

  • No. Most types of winter squash are somewhat difficult to peel before being cooked.
  • You can bake or microwave the whole squash (use a fork to pierce the skin a few times to allow the steam to escape), to make cutting and peeling easier. You can also cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and then bake.
  • When cutting an uncooked squash with a hard peel use a sharp chef’s knife and hold the squash firmly on a stable cutting board (to prevent the knife from slipping, or the squash from rolling).

What types of cooking methods and recipes work well with winter squash?

There are so many great ways to use winter squash. If you have a favourite recipe please share it with our readers by commenting on this blog post or writing to Healthy Families BC on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for reading!

Related blogs

Winter squash is back on the menu! Part 1
Recipe Ideas for Savouring the Harvest
Pumpkin Raisin Muffins by Tracy Nash

Recommended resources

BCfresh: Squash
EatRight Ontario: All About Winter Squash
All About Pumpkins: Varieties
Epicurious: A Visual Guide to Winter Squash
What’s Cooking America: Types of Squash

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Comments (1)


Posted on Wednesday September 30, 2015 a 3:13pm

I recently roasted seeds from two different types of squash and can report that the eating quality of the seeds varies by squash variety.

The seeds from the kabocha squash had a very thick and woody hull that made for unpleasant eating. In contrast, the seeds from the sugar pumpkin had a comparatively thin hull and were delicious after roasting.

I never boil or rinse the seeds -- they still turn out great. I usually use either a sweet cinnamon or chili spice mix depending on my mood. What do others use?


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