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Holiday season is in full-swing, and the pumpkin-spiced obsession right along with it! Pumpkin’s thick-skinned cousins are in season too, and the time’s ripe to explore the world of winter gourds. Gourds typically refer to the hard-rinded cousins of squash that are used more often for decoration than eating, but gourds are much more than just pretty centerpieces.  Here’s your guide to cooking up some delicious winter gourds!

Butternut Squash

A winter-time favorite, butternut squash is generally hourglass shaped with a tan rind. It has a buttery, sweet taste, and is excellent as a soup or mash, and delicious when cubed and roasted. Add it to holiday side dishes, such as this butternut squash cranberry quinoa salad!

Cinderella or Fairytale Pumpkin

The Fairytale Pumpkin is a flattened version of typical pumpkins, with a much more vibrant red-orange hue. They are sweeter and more moist, and typically used in pies.

Acorn Squash

Appropriately acorn-shaped, this squash is generally smaller with a dark green ribbed rind. When cooked it has a sweetness to it that makes it perfect for roasting. Acorn squashes are also perfect for stuffing when sliced in half – try your favorite holiday stuffing or a beefless pesto stuffing.

Turban Squash

Turban squash is among those most commonly used decoratively because of its bright multi-colored bulbous top. Slice off the top and scoop out the flesh to make stuffing and use its brilliantly colored rind for serving!

Spaghetti Squash

This golden oval squash has a slightly sweet, nutty taste, and when cooked, pulls apart into thin strands of squash, just like pasta. It’s a perfect gluten-free substitution in any pasta recipe, especially flavorful red sauces like a meatless bolognese.