Oops! I was trying a new squash, and there was a little incident.

This was labeled a Kabocha squash, but I’m pretty sure it’s a Red Kuri or orange Hubbard that had been mislabeled.

Kabocha have a fairly soft skin. Hubbards (and Red Kuri which is related to a Hubbard) do not.

The soft skin of the Kabocha allows the skin to be eaten once cooked and also allows the squash to split open easily so that pressure doesn’t build inside if, say, you put it in the microwave.

I tried my first Kabocha squash this fall. The local H mart had a great sale, and I was looking to try a new winter squash. 

Kabocha are wonderful. They’re sweet, flavorful, and dense. If you’ve never tried one and you like winter squash, this is hard to beat.

A few years ago, I started partially cooking winter squash in the microwave before slicing it open and scraping out the seeds. I poke a few holes — a lot easier than trying to cut an entire stubborn squash in half — then pop it in the microwave for 3-6:00 minutes. This softens the squash enough to cut a lot easier.

Then seed and cook the rest of the way in the microwave or roast in the oven.

So I was trying to soften this new squash which had been labeled Kabocha. I thought maybe it was an orange Kabocha. (I’ve only cooked green Kabocha so far). I’m not an expert. What do I know?

I could tell the shape was a little different. 

Another name for Kabocha squash is Japanese Pumpkin. They are shaped like a squat pumpkin and have dark green or deep orange skin. This new squash, however, was somewhat teardrop shaped — a shape much more common to hubbard or (I would learn) red kuri squash.

I only managed to poke just one smallish hole in this squash because it was one tough cookie, er, squash. I thought it would be fine. All the other Kabochas have been fine.

Then I put it in the microwave for about 6:00 minutes because I figured it was pretty big (and three minutes didn’t seem to have done much to soften it).

It was that second half of the time that did me in.

“Boom,” I heard from the the kitchen.

Then I heard the sound of the glass base rocking in the microwave. I hoped it hadn’t broken.

It turned out that the skin on this squash was hard, tough, and thick (even once cooked). It held the steam rather impressively even with the little hole bubbling a little.

The squash had exploded. The plate and microwave glass were fine, but squash guts were splattered all over in various sizes. I had a quite a mess to clean up … after I got done laughing.


My family laughed too. Then my daughter helped me clean the squashed squash from the inside of the microwave.

(I once exploded an egg in the microwave on purpose. It was for science. Luckily the squash was much easier to clean up.)

This squash tastes quite yummy, but does not appear to be a Kabocha squash. So my guess is it’s a red kuri or orange hubbard.

Part of this bright orange exploding mystery squash (the parts that weren’t plastered to the inside of the mircrowave) went into a roasted veggie mixture. The rest went into a lovely squash soup (just bouillon and pureed squash). Yum.

I purchased two of these and the next one is even larger. So I better poke much larger holes — several of them — or watch out.