Kabocha squash is a deep green or orange-red gourd that measures about 8 to 12 inches in diameter. Known as the Japanese pumpkin, kabocha is easy to cook, sweet tasting and rich in nutrients.
Kabocha is grown in California for the Japanese market. It looks like a small, deep green pumpkin with hard skin. The deep orange flesh is very sweet and tastes like a cross between a sweet potato and a pumpkin. Though available throughout the year, kabocha tastes best when picked at the end of the summer or in early fall. Select kabocha squash with hard skins and firm stems.
To cook kabocha, prick the skin with a fork, and place the whole squash in a shallow baking pan. Add water to the pan. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour. When the flesh is cooked, it is easily scooped out with a spoon. Use kabocha in stews in soups by cutting the flesh into cubes and adding them to the pot.
Store whole, uncooked kabocha in a cool place but not in the refrigerator. Cooked leftovers must be refrigerated. This squash is rich in vitamins A and C. It is also full of beta carotene, potassium and iron.