Types of Edible Gourds

By Joseph Guibert , last updated January 30, 2012

A hearty family of fruits and vegetables, gourds, or squashes as the edible variety is better known, can provide for a delicious, rich and satisfying meal, becoming quite sweet and creamy when cooked--depending on the type. They can be a great source for a number of important nutrients and vitamins for people, including vitamins A, B2, and C, as well as potassium and iron.

Generally, the most taste bud-friendly gourds can be found within the October to January time frame. But that’s also not to say that certain types can’t be found year round and be equally as tasty. When buying at your local grocer or farmer’s market, look for gourds or squashes that are bright in color and have a hard rind. It’s also important that they be bruise-free and that their stem is still intact.

Among the variety of edible gourds are:

  • Decorative Squash: A winter variety that is usually used in centerpieces or décor, thanks to its unusual shapes and markings.
  • Delicata/Sweet Potato Squash: Oblong in shape, this squash is available year-round and is generally yellow in color.
  • Eight-Ball Squash: Fat and round, this gourd is the spherical version of a zucchini, with the same general color, tones and taste.
  • Fairytale Pumpkin: Flat-shaped and generally best in the winter months, this tender and sweet gourd is orange or brown in color.
  • Gold Ball Squash: Similar to gold zucchini, this gourd is about the size of a fist and lends itself well to a variety of dips.
  • Gold Nugget Squash: Deep orange and reminiscent of a pumpkin in shape, only smaller, this gourd, available year-round, is blander than most and therefore takes better to seasonings.
  • Gooseneck Squash: Best in winter, this aptly-named gourd is identifiable by its goose’s neck shape.

As for storage, these types of edible gourds don’t need to be refrigerated and will keep for up to several months. All pair well with a wide variety of seasonings and dishes and make for an interesting and tasty addition to any meal.

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