Having a Taste of Hubbard Squash

Hubbard squash refers to a group of winter squashes, although the original “True Hubbard” is still available. Besides the squashes that have Hubbard in their actual names, Boston marrow, delicious, golden delicious, and redskin are also Hubbard squashes. The squashes in this group are very large and irregularly shaped, with hard, bumpy skin that ranges in color from from greyish-blue to grey to orange to green (dark or light.) The shape of squashes in this group may vary from tear-dropped to more flattened tear drop. Inside, they have sweet, orangish-yellow, somewhat grainy flesh that can be softer to cut than other squash such as acorn or butternut. The taste is also less sweet than acorn or butternut. They are often used as a replacement for pumpkins in cooking. Hubbard squashes are varieties of Cucurbita maxima, along with acorn, banana, buttercup, kabocha, and lakota squashes, as well as giant pumpkin varieties (those that weigh over 100 pounds). They all belong to the Cucurbita genus along with crookneck, straightneck, scallop, zucchini, cousa, cocozzelle, vegetable marrow (including spaghetti squash), pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut, winter crookneck, and cushaw. They are all members of the Cucurbitaceae family, along with watermelon, cucumber, horned melon, muskmelon, cantaloupe, Persian melon, Korean melon, canary melon, casaba, Hami melon, honeydew, kolkhoznitsa melon, Santa Claus melon, sugar melon, tiger melon, Japanese melons, galia, sharlyn melons, Crenshaws, and crane melons.

A then-nameless squash was first recorded in Marblehead, Massachusetts as arriving there in 1798, either from the West Indies or South America through Captain Knott Martin. A woman named Elizabeth Hubbard brought the fruit to the attention of her neighbor in Marblehead, a man named James John Howard Gregory (1827-1910). James J. H. Gregory subsequently introduced it to the market as the “Hubbard” squash. Gregory later bred and released the blue hubbard, which has a bluish-gray skin. The other major variety, the golden hubbard squash, has a bright orange skin. Gregory advertisements for the squash date from at least 1859. Gregory received an award in 1860 for the squash from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. It was the Hubbard Squash that launched his career as a seed trader and nurseryman.

Apparently, the Hubbard squash was difficult to grow, at least in Vermont, according to a popular rhyme, “Raising Hubbard Squash in Vermont”:

If we could only spin a top
And make a wish and get a crop,
The things that I m about to say
Would then be told another way; 

For crops there be so hard to cinch
You couldn’t raise ’em with a winch
It s all I want to do, By Gosh!
To raise a head of Hubbard squash…

From that sad day you plant the seed
To Mr. Cutworm’s earliest feed;
From Mr. Cutworm’s latest eat
To Mr. Bug’s first family treat;
From Mr. Bug’s last meal to frost,
It s labor, love and phosphate lost
There seems to be no wipe or wash
That disembugs a Hubbard squash.

And if by grace of Pan or Puck,
Or happy chance or splendid luck,
You get a real nice fruit in shape
To praise and pick and cook and scrape,
You ll find the vine has straggled round
And grown it on your neighbor’s ground,
And all you get is jest and josh
As off he lugs your Hubbard squash.
How strange that we in squashdom prize
The things we in ourselves despise !

Who wants, unless he’s sunk in sin,
A green or orange-colored skin?
Or warts that stand a half inch high,
Or “flesh” that s classed as “cool and dry”?…

It’s sure a shame a fruit so fine
Should have to grow upon a vine,
And lay around in dust and dirt,
And be bedosed with insect squirt;
A fruit that you can boil or bake
And even use in layer cake
But what’s the use? this talk is bosh
Till I can raise a Hubbard squash.

Hubbard squash can:

  1. Make you look and feel better. A half-cup serving of Hubbard squash contains 121% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A. This vitamin, which your body makes from the carotenoids in Hubbard squash, promotes good vision, healthy skin and mucous membranes, and a healthy immune system.
  2. Help you maintain an ideal weight. The fiber in Hubbard squash absorbs water, slowing the emptying of your stomach, and adding volume to food so that you feel full longer. It helps to prevent diabetes by slowing the entrance of glucose into the bloodstream, reducing glucose and insulin spikes after meals.
  3. Lower your cancer risk. Bacteria in your large intestine ferment the fiber and resistant starch in Hubbard squash, which helps to prevent colorectal cancers. The vitamin C in Hubbard squash helps protect cells from free radical damage, lowers your cancer risk, regenerates your vitamin E supplies, and improves iron absorption.
  4. Keep your cardiovascular system healthy. The fiber in Hubbard squash helps prevent deaths from coronary heart disease.  Potassium regulates muscle contraction, including heart rythym. It also regulates nerve transmission and lowers blood pressure by counteracting the detrimental effects of sodium and regulating fluid balance.
  5. Keep your bones strong. The vitamin A in Hubbard squash promotes bone and tooth growth, while the potassium maintains the density and strength of your bones by decreasing urinary calcium loss.

Nutrients in 100 Grams (1/2 Cup) Baked Hubbard Squash 

Nutrient

Amount

Daily Value

vitamin A

6036 IU

121%

fiber

4.9 g

19.6%

vitamin C

9.5 mg

16%

potassium

358 mg

10%

manganese

0.2 mg

9%

vitamin B6

0.2 mg

9%

magnesium

22 mg

5%

protein

2.5 g

5%

thiamine

0.1 mg

5%

folate

16 µg

4%

carbohydrates

10.8 g

4%

pantothenic acid

0.4 mg

4%

choline

14.6 mg

3.4%

niacin

0.6 mg

3%

iron

0.5 mg

3%

Calories

50

2%

phosphorus

23 mg

2%

calcium

17 mg

2%

vitamin K

1.6 µg

2%

copper

0.045 mg

2%

zinc

0.2 mg

1%

vitamin E

0.2 mg

0.7%

riboflavin

0.1 mg

0.4%

fat

0.6 g

0.1%

selenium

0.6 µg

0.1%

sodium

1 mg

0.04%

cholesterol

0 mg

0%

carotene-ß

3580 µg

carotene-α

682 µg

crypto-xanthin-ß

0 µg

Hubbard squash is available year-round, although the peak season is early fall throughout winter. Hubbard squash is often sold in pieces because it can grow to very large sizes. Choose squash that have a hard, deep-colored rind and is free of blemishes or moldy spots. Tender skin indicates immaturity or poor quality. The hard skin protects the flesh and allows it to store longer than summer squash.

The extra-hard skins make them one of the best keeping winter squashes. Completely remove stems before storage. If they are in good condition initially, and are kept in a dark, well-ventilated area at 50 to 55 degree F. with 70% relative humidity, Hubbards can be successfully stored 6 months. Don’t store blue, gray, or green Hubbard squash and other dark-green-skinned squashes near apples if you want them to retain their color, as the ethylene from apples may cause the skin to turn orange-yellow. Wrap or seal cut pieces in an air-tight container and refrigerate up to five days.

Like all winter squash, Hubbards have an inedible skin, large, fully developed seeds that must be scooped out, and a dense flesh. Large Hubbard squash may be difficult to cut. Here’s one solution:

The yellow flesh of Hubbards tends to be very moist and needs longer cooking times in the oven. Hubbard squash may be cooked whole or split lengthwise (removing seeds). Pierce whole squash in several places, and bake halved squash hollow side up. They can be peeled and boiled, cut up and roasted, or cut small and steamed or sautéed. 

Hubbard squash is popular in Brazilian, African, Native American and East Indian recipes. Try it in one of these recipes:


This blog uses the latest nutritional data available from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration), as well as nutritional data provided by food growers and manufacturers about their products. We believe the information on this website to be accurate. However, we are not responsible for typographical or other errors. Nutrition information for recipes is calculated by Living Cookbook based on the ingredients in each recipe based on statistical averages. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

This blog is not a substitute for the services of a trained health professional. Although we provide nutritional information, the information on this blog is for informational purposes only. No information offered by or through this blog shall be construed as or understood to be medical advice or care. None of the information on this blog should be used to diagnose or treat any health problem or disease. Consult with a health care provider before taking any product or using any information on this blog. Please discuss any concerns with your health care provider.

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