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What is a Hubbard Squash?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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One type of winter squash, a hubbard squash has many names such as "green pumpkin" or "buttercup." Its origins are unknown, but it can currently be found in most countries worldwide, as it can grow about anywhere with sunlight and a few months of warm weather. Most major supermarkets sell the squash during the winter months, but it is often sold in pieces as an entire squash can be quite large. Due to it's hard outer shell, this winter squash stores well, for up to six months, and can be used in a variety of cooking and baking recipes.

Origin

The hubbard squash is said to have a mysterious origin, possibly named after a Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard, who lived in the 1840s and gave seeds of the squash to friends, thus increasing its popularity. It is not known exactly where the hubbard was first grown, but most winter squash varieties are known to be New World foods, meaning they originated in the Americas. It can now be grown almost anywhere with enough sunlight, water, and warm weather; the seed is known to be quite resilient and grows best if planted during the spring to allowed to grow all summer.

A relatively recent addition to hubbard squash varieties is the golden hubbard; unfortunately, manipulating nature here has not produced the best results. While the golden hubbard squash is pretty, some note it has a bitter aftertaste instead of the sweet taste of the original hubbard. Many people suggest sticking with the original hubbard for best cooking results.

Appearance and Taste

The outside shell of this type of squash should be hard and firm, and its color may range from dark green to gray or blue in color; some people refer to the squash as green or blue hubbard squash because of the differences in the color of the shells. The shell is generally not consumed, but the orange, sweet-tasting flesh underneath can be eaten. This particular variety of winter squash is often tear-shaped, and can grow quite large, with some reaching 50 pounds (22.68 kg) in weight. Most hubbards of this size cannot be found in supermarkets, but instead the squash is usually sold in pieces.

Cooking and Baking

The hubbard is consistently sweet, and can be substituted for virtually any other winter squash, making it ideal for cooking and baking. The squash can be peeled and boiled, roasted, steamed, or sauteed; it can be served as a side dish, used as a soup base, or used for pumpkin pie filling. Cooking a hubbard squash is simple: the squash can be cut in half, the seeds scooped out, and the squash cooked flesh side down in an oven. Alternately, the squash can be peeled, cubed, and steamed, but peeling winter squash can take some work, so baking is usually the easier method.

Very frequently, hubbard squashes are used in place of pumpkin for pumpkin pie because of their relative cheapness and similar flavor; the flesh of a hubbard tends to be consistently more dense than the flesh of most pumpkins, with the exception of the sugar pumpkin. In addition to pumpkin pie, winter squash can be pureed to make a creamy soup or an ideal baby food as the cooked hubbard is very sweet and scarcely needs embellishment. Another popular idea is to produce a mashed squash or winter squash casserole topped with candied nuts; also, slices of hubbard can be topped with a bit of brown sugar and a sprinkling of nutmeg or pumpkin pie spices for a sweet treat. For the more creative type, it is possible to make hubbard squash raviolis, served with a cream sauce.

Nutritional Value and Storage

Hubbards are very nutritious when they are prepared in a healthy way; the squash has virtually no fat and is extremely low in sodium. A cup of this sweet treat cubed, without extra sugar, holds about 120 calories and has plenty of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It is a great diet food since it needs very little embellishment, and with a nice amount of dietary fiber, proves very filling.

This winter squash can be stored for up to six months, if it is stored properly; the best storage conditions include temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 13 degrees Celsius) and approximately 70 degrees relative humidity. Removing the stem of the squash may also help prevent it from rotting. Storing hubbards and apples separately may also prove helpful as gases released by apples may affect the skin of the squash.

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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon963286 — On Jul 28, 2014

A line or two describing a test for ripeness would be useful. I have heard that the skin of a ripe Hubbard or other types of winter squash should resist being punctured with a thumbnail. I would like confirmation of this.

By anon347521 — On Sep 07, 2013

I use an inexpensive hand saw to cut up hubbard squash. It gives me much better control than any other way that I've tried. You probably want to dedicate your saw for this only. I suspect that it dulls the blade so that it is not good for anything else. Make sure that you wash it with dish detergent and rinse before using.

By anon323814 — On Mar 06, 2013

How do you keep Hubbard squash after you've broken into it? Will the pieces keep in the fridge for a while until you can eat the whole thing? Or is there a better way to keep it? Cooked? Frozen? I love putting the washed chunks of butternut or Hubbard in a covered caserole dish with a little water and microwaving them for 10 or 15 minutes until they get soft, then just scoop the flesh out! So easy!

By anon283957 — On Aug 07, 2012

My hubbard squash vines are growing out of control. Can I clip off the ends without hurting the rest of the plant?

By anon273146 — On Jun 05, 2012

How do you grown them?

By anon204584 — On Aug 09, 2011

Smashing this gigantic squash seems like a fine idea. Far better than my scary, never happy ending use of a blade. Wow! I am psyched! Will be smashing squash in my driveway for weeks to come.

Also, enjoyed learning this gigantar is sweet as pie and often appears in our pumpkin pie cans. Who knew?

By anon118496 — On Oct 14, 2010

I was able to peel my hubbard squash much more easily after dropping it on the cement, rinsing the pieces, hollowing it and baking the pieces for 20 min. at 300 degrees. I had two large pieces. If your squash broke into smaller portions, you may want to have a shorter baking time.

By anon117435 — On Oct 10, 2010

I wash the outside of the hubbard squash, put in a large plastic garbage bag and smash it on cement ground to break it up in pieces. Scoop seeds out and roast the pieces in oven until soft. Scoop out of skin and cook in chicken or vegetable stock with onions. Puree for a wonderful soup.

By anon115733 — On Oct 04, 2010

I drop my hubbard squash on the cement floor or sidewalk and it breaks into manageable pieces to bake (after I wash it off).

By anon108430 — On Sep 02, 2010

RE: Peeling Hubbard Squash?

We bake it with the skin on and then scoop out the baked squash to eat, for soup, etc.

Another problem can be breaking it into 'bakeable' pieces. My sister-in-law used to use an ax. I use a large knife (machete) and a wooden ax handle. I place the machete on the squash and then hit it with the handle to 'drive' the machete through the squash. This provides much more control, as the knife moves only about 1/8" with each hit and I can tip it a bit as it moves through the squash to guide its cut.

Note, you will probably deform the dull side of the machete blade slightly, so don't use a 'good' blade.

By anon107065 — On Aug 28, 2010

My neighbor has a large teardrop shaped squash with smooth skin. I said it looked like a hubbard. But his traditional looking hubbard is growing right next to it - different plant, so he doesn't think so. Can anyone address this?

By anon61840 — On Jan 22, 2010

Hubbard squash is the most addicting, delicious food I have ever tasted. It's like heroin.

By anon53950 — On Nov 25, 2009

how do i peel a hubbard squash?

By anon47410 — On Oct 04, 2009

with most winter squashes you want to pick before the first hard frost to keep them from getting soft and spoiling.

By anon46448 — On Sep 25, 2009

i have buttercup squash in my garden. when is the time to harvest? i know some green skinned squash will get a yellow or orange spot on the surface touching the groud.

By anon20350 — On Oct 29, 2008

My recommendation: Pick it while you can still lift it up. :)

By anon17120 — On Aug 22, 2008

How do you know when they are ready to be picked?

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen

Writer

With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
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