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The answer is yes, but there's a caveat.

Arielle Weg
August 29, 2018

It seems daunting to differentiate between which squash varieties can be cooked skin-on and which you need to break out the vegetable peeler for. It’s just not this confusing with other produce items. We peel every kind of citrus fruit, eat all apples skin-on, and remove kiwi’s fuzzy layer—so why do squash have to send us such mixed signals?

Well, here’s something you may not know. All squash skin is edible. But in the same way you’re going to toss that banana peel, edible doesn’t necessarily mean you want to eat it. Some squash has thin skin that’s tasty and tender, while others have a tough shell that, even cooked, offers a stringy, chewy bite we opt to avoid. Here are are our favorite squash to cook with, ranked from least-palatable skin to totally delicious peel.

Photo: Colin Price; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Spaghetti Squash

You never have to peel a spaghetti squash, but you probably want to avoid eating the skin. Most recipes call for you to bake the squash, sliced down the middle with the shell intact and seeds removed. Once baked, you can use a fork to pull the spaghetti-like strands from the hard shell. Then you’re free to treat the meat like you would pasta, topping it off with a delicious sauce.

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Butternut Squash

You’re most likely going to want to avoid the skin of a butternut squash and stick to the creamy inside instead. Keep in mind, you may not necessarily need to peel a butternut squash unless the recipe calls for peeled and diced squash. Recipes that call for roasted squash for a puree can be cooked in the skin and scooped out when soft.

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Kabocha

This squash skin may need a little TLC to become totally edible, but if you let it cook long enough in the oven, it becomes soft and supple. However, if you’re just not a fan of the skin and want a more pleasant meal, feel free to peel this skin off before enjoying. Try it sliced with a salty-sweet glaze or as unpeeled wedges over a fall salad.

Getty Images/Martin Fredy

Red Kuri

The peel on a red kuri is another variety that’s up to you. Are there recipes that require to skin it? Sure. But there are also plenty that have you roast it skin-on and eat it as a delicious red kuri squash side dish.

Photo: Victor Protasio

Acorn Squash

Whether cut into slices or stuffed and baked whole, acorn squash skin is totally tasty to consume. When roasted, the skin becomes soft enough to eat by the forkful, but for those who prefer it skin-free, the meat separates from the peel easily. However, if you’ve never given it a try, we think the skin is totally worth it.

Getty Images/ Wally Eberhart

Delicata Squash

Everything about delicata squash is delicious—and edible. You can scoop out the seeds and stuff these babies or slice them into chunks. Just keep in mind their super thin skin doesn’t keep the vegetable fresh as long as a thicker-skinned winter squash. You’ll want to use these up within a week of purchase.

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Summer Squash

The yellow and green squash you find from late spring to early fall are known most commonly as summer squash. Zucchini, yellow squash, and crookneck squash all have completely edible skin and seeds. Pattypan squash generally has edible skin, but the larger the squash the tougher the skin is. Take the time to roast a larger pattypan so the skin becomes softer, and you may want to remove the large seeds.

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