Buttercup squash is a winter squash belonging to the family Cucurbitaceae. Not to be confused with its cousin, the butternut squash, the squat green buttercup takes its name from its shape, which some say resembles an upside-down acorn with an undersized cap.
The inedible rind is dark green, striated with silvery gray lines. In some cultivars, a cap of paler green sits atop the squash at the blossom end. The buttercup’s dense flesh is dark yellow-orange, sometimes approaching a deeper reddish color. It is worth noting that the more intense the color, the more vitamin A the squash contains.
The flavor of the buttercup squash’s flesh is sweet and nutty, with a creamy consistency more in line with that of a baked sweet potato than a pumpkin, which tends to be more fibrous and watery by comparison. The flesh can tend toward dryness, a flaw that is easily compensated for by cooking method. Steaming and baking are preferred methods of preparation, as both will bring out the sweetness of and add moistness to the flesh.