Kabocha types

Cucurbita maxima and C. moschata


Kabocha types (Cucurbita maxima and C. moschata) are numerous and confusing. Kabocha is a generic term for winter squash developed in Japan (including Kuri). Unfortunately, it is the sole marketing term used in North America to designate all cultivars (rather like using just the word “apple” for Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Gala, etc.). There are two primary types: drum-shaped green Hokkaido, usually fairly rough-skinned and mottled or striped darkgreen to slate; and the globular or pointy smoother orange Hokkaido (derived from American Hubbard). And then there are all the others between, which look like either or both—and may even confuse you by having Buttercup-style beanies. What you cannot see is what these Japanese squash have in common: deep flavor, honeyed sweetness, and flesh so fine-grained that it can seem more custard than vegetable.