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Calabaza or calabaza squash, also known as the West Indian pumpkin, is a type of pumpkin-like hard squash.



These squashes are round in shape and varied in size, ranging from as large as a watermelon to as small as a cantaloupe.[1][2] The outer color of calabaza can also vary and may include greens, tans, and oranges,[1][2] while the flesh is yellow-orange.[2] Some squash are all one color while other calabaza are multi-colored and may include all the colors listed above.[1]

Calabaza has a sweet flavor and firm texture.[1][2] This is similar to the taste and texture of other varieties of squash, such as butternut or acorn.[1]

Selection and storage


Because of the difficulty many have in cutting the whole squash, calabaza is often sold already chopped into chunks in many Latin American markets.[2] Select pieces with a fresh, moist and unblemished flesh—soft or wet spots means the squash is beginning to spoil. The flesh should be a bright orange. Whole squash may be more difficult to find, but if you find one, select one that still has the stem attached and is heavy for its size.[2] You should avoid purchasing a squash with bruises, cuts, or soft spots.

Whole calabaza may be stored in a cool, dry space for up to 6–8 weeks. Cut calabaza should be wrapped tightly or placed in a covered container in the refrigerator for no more than one week.[1]



Whole calabaza may be difficult to slice. Slicing through the tough rind often calls for a heavy cleaver or a very sharp knife. If the squash resists slicing, remove the stem and place the knife or cleaver blade along the squash’s length. Gently tap the blade with a hammer until the squash falls open. Scoop out the seeds, peel, and prepare.

This squash is popular in the Caribbean as well as Central and South America. It is commonly roasted, either cut in sections or in cubes,[1] but it can also be cooked via moist heat methods or by other dry heat methods such as frying.[1][2] When puréed, it can be used in soups and desserts.[1] Its seeds may also be roasted in a similar way to pumpkin seeds.

Calabaza may be substituted for other hard winter squashes like butternut or acorn, and vice versa.




  1. a b c d e f g h i "Calabaza Squash". Retrieved 2024-02-01.
  2. a b c d e f g "What Is Calabaza Squash and How Do You Cook With It?". Allrecipes. Retrieved 2024-02-01.