How To Pick The Perfect Kabocha Squash

October 10, 2015

So if ya’ll know me at all, you would know that I am in love with kabocha squash. Actually, it’s more of an obsession. I will drive 45 minutes for some (and I really have). I get so many questions about how to make it, how to pick it, and how to track the macros because it isn’t very consistent. I’m going to break it all down for you, because trust me you need to experience the deliciousness of this squash. I basically can’t eat any other squash now because it doesn’t compare. Back off, butternut and acorn. Once you go Kabocha, you don’t go back.

Okay, so, what even is Kabocha? No, it’s not Kombucha like the probiotic drink that everyone gets confused with. Ka-bO-cha is a japanese pumpkin – basic girls unite! It doesn’t taste like a real pumpkin though, which was barely any flavor, so all you pumpkin haters don’t worry. It’s green on the outside, and orange on the inside, so it’s not a pumpkin for halloween decoration. It’s dense like a sweet potato, but is lower in calories and carbs, and yes you can definitely eat the skin.

Next step is the MOST IMPORTANT part, so pay attention. You must, and I mean must, pick the correct squash or else you will regret buying and trying the squash and then I will get a ton of hate-emails. Picking the right squash is key, and it’s kind of annoying because you will know the second you cut it open if it’s good or bad. Just like you wouldn’t want to eat an un-ripe avocado or a super un-ripe banana, you don’t want a squash that isn’t just right. The perfect squash is dry and flaky, whereas the crappy squash is very watery and just no.


There are two different things to do in order to help you pick the perfect squash:

COLOR – On the outside, look for the squash that’s deep in green color. They might have some lighter patches or orange patches but that’s fine. This color is the one you want. On the inside, if you see this deep color, it’s perfect. If it’s a lot lighter and not as deep you’ll no it’s no good.

WEIGHT – Pick up the squash and feel for the one that feels heavy for it’s size. You’ll have to use your own judgment here, but if it feels heavier than you thought it’d be, then it’s good and wasn’t picked too early.

Now, how do you make it? First I cut them in half and scoop out the seeds. Then personally,  I like to just spray them with coconut oil cooking spray, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 25 min or so at 450. I find that it comes out perfectly at the higher heat/shorter time.


That’s it! As long as you pick the right one and don’t cook it too much, you’re set.

As for the macros, it’s a little bit inconsistent. My fitness pal says it is about 7-8 grams of carbs for about 85 grams of squash. However, apparently in Japan they say it’s about 76 calories for about 1 cup of squash (which is around 100-110g) and 18g of carbs. So, if you’re on prep or something, just stick with one and stay consistent with it.

Now just go try this squash and trust me you will thank me you did 😉


Have you tried Kabocha?

How do you like cooking it?

    1. I read so many blogs centered around healthy living, and yet I have never tried a Kabocha Squash. Crazy right?!?! I’ve seen hundreds of thousands of images of it on Instagram, but the farthest I’ve branched out was sweet potato fries.

    1. Haha I feel like the blog world has propelled kabocha squash to the holy grail of squashes (sort of like kale… haha) but it’s for good reason: It’s delicious and healthy! I love it! I usually just roast mine with some salt and pepper 🙂

        1. I used to grow “regular” orange pumpkins. One year I got a weird volunteer. After maturation, I found the squash extremely delicious and had a great shelf life to boot. I replanted it’s seeds and grew them for some time and one day in the market I spotted one and asked the grocer what it was. “Kabocha,” was his reply! I have grown them exclusively ever since, over ten years straight. This year my crop is in excess of 150 pounds. I eat them, give them away, cut them in 1+ inch squares, parboil them for ~15 minutes and add to stir fries (yum!), freeze the mashed cooked kabs, can them (Morrocan Pumpkin Soup!), can them plain, make cookies out of them. I have encountered no more delicious squash of any kind.

    1. First off, LOVE the new look of the blog! It looks awesome! Secondly….SPOT ON POST. I have gotten nothing but soft, wet kabochas over the past few months. 🙁 I am hoping and praying that I get a nice crumbly, dry one soon! The one you have in the pics above looks PERFECT. Major squash envy!!

      1. It’s been like this for a while, but thanks so much girl! I got mine at trader joes they’re perfect!

    1. Oh goodness, kabocha is THE best fall food. My mum has been growing it for me – the first year I didn’t even know it was kabocha as we call it a different name over here – and homegrown are best. Sadly, we had to harvest ours early this year so most are on the watery side and kabocha is hard to find in stores. But when it is [usually in larger cities] your tips are what I go by, too. I disagree with roasting the squash, though ;). My preferred method is steaming and then eating it with some almond butter.

      1. Yessss I’m obsessed! I’ll try that!

    1. I love these! I basically grew up eating these ever since I can remember. However here in Australia they’re called Japanese pumpkin or Kent pumpkin. I didn’t realise how low cal they were. You’ve motivated me to add them into meals for some volume without the guilt. Thank you!

    1. Do you just cut it up in slices with the skin in all and eat it that way?!

      1. I usually don’t eat the skin! but yes I cut it up and then cut off the skin and eat it 😀

        1. I never cut off the skin. Of course, sometimes some of a squash is to be removed before cooking. Growing your own, if you can, is big fun. The plants are lush, gorgeous and fast growing and there’s a great satisfaction in a fabulous crop that looks like it is in Jurassic Park! I used to have titanic struggles with poaching squirrels, but some online research revealed that you can make the kabochas uninteresting to squirrels by spraying them every couple weeks or so with a solution produced from crushed red chili peppers. So, I put away my traps.

          I make a cake to die for with my kabochas!

    1. I LOVE Kabocha Squash! I slice them thin with a mandolin and fry them like chips in coconut oil. Talk about an amazing treat and healthy too boot. I keep picking icky light colored ones that are watery and just don’t crisp up when fried. Thank you for the help!

    1. I plant early and pick late. I let them sit on the vines at least until the plant looks dead. Some extra time out there in the late summer, mid fall doesn’t seem to harm them. I’m finding that the picked kabochas survive the winter indoors without falling victim to fungus much better if I have a fan going in the room. I have about half of my 2017 crop still and it’s March 1, 2018.

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