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Can You Eat the Skin of a Delicata Squash?

A partially-peeled Delicata squash on a cutting board
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Can you eat the skin of a Delicata squash? Yes, you can eat the skin of a Delicata squash but it doesn’t melt in your mouth the way some people suggest.

In fact, I would consider it to be a nuisance that takes away from the inner meat of the squash.

If you leave the skin on you will find yourself chewing on it long after you’ve ingested the delicious inside part of the squash.

A Delicata squash skin partially peeled away from the squash
Seems pretty sturdy, will it magically transform into a wonderful mouthfeel experience?

I say this as a person who is not a texture-focused eater. I eat things mushy or crunchy and everywhere in between.

Today’s world is filled with time-saving life hacks and some of them really miss the mark. This is one of them.

In this post, I will compare Delicata squash with the skin on and off to test the legitimacy of this “tip.”

Two Delicata Squashes side by side with the more mature squash on the right
The more mature squash is on the right.

I’ll also show you what to look for when choosing a Delicata squash and ways to prepare it.

Delicata Squash

Delicata squash is one of the smaller hard squashes that make their appearance in the fall. Due to its sweetness, or sugar to starch ratio, it has a shorter shelf life than other hard squashes.

It does have a thinner skin relative to other hard squash like Acorn or Butternut, but it is still a skin nonetheless that will not break down easily.

Closeup image of a Delicata Squash cut in half, revealing the thinness of its skin.

Delicata squash is harvested in September and October in the United States and you will see it go away by sometime in December unless they’re coming from Mexico.

Mexico is the major source of hard squash for the United States between the harvesting seasons for squash, which is in the fall.

Delicata will change color the further along it gets in its maturation. The skin color will change from a light cream color with dark green stripes to predominantly yellow color with the green stripes turning orangish-yellow.

Closeup shot of a Delicata with a relatively cream-colored skin

A Delicata squash with a golden yeloow skin indicating its maturity
The same Delicata squash as the picture above two weeks later, notice the difference? It’s turning more yellow.

How to Choose a Delicata Squash

Choose a Delicata squash that is heavy for its size and skin color between cream and yellow. Yellow skin color is ok but the deeper the yellow, the more time it’s had to lose sugar.

You also don’t want a Delicata squash that can you press in the skin when you apply pressure.

If you wrap your hand around it and can squeeze it in like a stress ball then the Delicata squash has seen better days and probably most of the sweetness with it.

Label on the Delicata squash with its PLU number 4763
Squash PLU codes, the bane of grocery store cashiers worldwide.

Delicata squash at this stage is spongy and a lot of the sugar has turned to starch through the simple advancement of time. This can be said of people as well now that I think about it. (Probably explains this rant of a post.)

You can usually tell these squash by appearance, they are a deep golden-yellow and pretty light for their size. If you desperately need it for a recipe, substitute an orange yam instead.

Another angle of two Delicata Squash side by side

The Current Dogma

If you do a search of Delicata squash you will encounter a Google page full of recipes from food blogs all parroting the same thing, roasting Delicata with the skin on.

That’s fine. Just don’t tell me that the skin is a taste sensation. But hey, I’m game for anything so I decided to try out some of these recipes.

I went straight to the top and went with a recipe that calls for 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch slices of Delicata squash roasted skin-on at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes flipping halfway through.

I cut the Delicata in half and did half of them with the skin on and the other half with the skin off.

Slices of Delicata Squash skin on and skin off

In case you were wondering it took all of a minute to peel the one half of Delicata.

Delicata Squash quartered with the two quarters on the right with their skin still on

And into the pan with some olive oil and salt.

Half moon slices of Delicata Squash on a baking sheet, some with the skin on, some with skin off

After 20 minutes the Delicata squash slices were already starting to burn so I flipped them and cut down the cooking time to 28 minutes.

Roasted half moon slices of Delicata Squash
Doesn’t look promising.

The Results

After sampling many pieces of the roasted Delicata I can confidently say I prefer the pieces without the skin.

Perhaps it’s confirmation bias or the fact that I’ve had some of the skin lodged in my throat for the past hour, but I’m having a difficult time finding the skin-on pieces “delightfully chewy.”

I will say that the inner flesh is so good that I still found myself eating the skin-on pieces, even with their shards lodged in my esophagus.

Pressing down on a cooked piece of skin-on Delicata squash to illustrate its toughness
Not shown in the picture, me pressing down with all my might.
A half moon piece of Delicata squash
MMMMMMMM. I guess it’s a good source of fiber.

The point of this article isn’t to mock recipes on the internet. It’s to call out the blind following of whatever the current popular opinion is, even in the face of conflicting evidence.

I’ve tried Delicata squash many ways and I can tell you that the risk/reward ratio for leaving the skin on just isn’t there.

Take two minutes and peel the outside if you’re roasting them in pieces, it’s well worth it.

Verdict

I know many of you are wondering what is a good preparation for Delicata Squash then smart guy?

It’s very similar to the above recipe with a few tweaks. Take a minute or two to peel the skin off and then cut the pieces into similar half-moon slices, except I would make them thicker, 3/4 of an inch to an inch in thickness.

Try it out for yourself and see what you prefer. I personally will take the preparation that doesn’t have me wondering what I can do to dislodge a foreign body from my throat lining.

Sorry, I meant a “delightfully-chewy” foreign body.

Three Bosc Pears in order of ripeness left to right

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