by Borderstan.com October 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm 2,495 0

From Namita Koppa. Email her at namita[AT]borderstan.com.


It is a jungle out there. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Weird shapes, strange sizes, seeds, stringy innards…it’s a jungle out there.

Gourds. For some of us, it’s a comforting time of year for biceps and bellies. Lugging these fall fruits from the market to home can easily bring us a fraction closer to Michelle Obama’s amazing upper body musculature, crockpot chilis, jack-o-lanterns and pies.

For others, looking at the oddities is downright confusing. How do I choose a squash? What does it taste like? Can they all be used in pumpkin pie?

Unfortunately, not all gourds are created equal. Here’s the skinny on some popular, nutritious, delicious gourds:


  • Bottom-heavy hourglass shape with a cream-to-tan peel and orange flesh
  • Thick flesh, few seeds, easy to peel with a sharp knife
  • Sweetest of all the winter squashes
  • Easy to roast, purée, mash or sauté


  • Round shape, dark green skin
  • Tender, yellow-orange flesh
  • Very easy to roast, steam, bake, sauté, mash or stuff


  • Oblong shape, pale, yellowish skin
  • Flesh composed of strands of squash, which can be used as a replacement for pasta
  • Mildly flavored
  • Easy to steam and serve with sauce of choice


  • Large, roundish shape, dark green skin with white and yellow spots
  • Flesh is sweet, soft, and delicious
  • Peel is very tough and difficult to cut, so I recommended cutting the squash into slices and leaving the peel on during the cooking process
  • Excellent for roasting and baking; included in South Asian and Asian curries and soups
  • For you Thai X-ing fans, this is the squash that is used in their famous pumpkin curry

Cinderella (with a little help from Fairy Godmother, of course)

  • Actually a family of heirloom pumpkins, including the cheese, Rouge Vif d’Etampes, Red Kuri and others
  • Sweet, sweet, sweet…these are made for pumpkin pie
  • Very versatile – roast, boil, mash, purée and serve with sweet or savory seasonings

Of course, there are countless types of pumpkins and winter squashes out there in the world, so don’t be afraid to explore Borderstan’s offerings. My personal favorite is the beautiful Blue Hubbard squash, which often is shaped like a famous movie character’s head. Come across this beauty, you may.

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