Squash Taste Test



To bring ourselves back to a time without grocery stores and experience the difference in taste between varieties of a crop that grows in our region.


What and how did the Native peoples of America eat?
What does it mean to have many varieties of the same crop?


4 types of squash (ex. Butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and kabocha)
Grid to score taste test
Plates and forks for tasting

Salt for tasting
Maple syrup (optional) for tasting


Roast the squashes whole the night before, bring in cold or at room temperature and set up a table for tasting, or 4 desk stations. Set up a description (or a seed story) about each variety at the corresponding station

Stations method:

Bring the group to the stations (tablecloths on tables with 4 cutting boards, 1 for each squash)

Cut each squash together so students can note the outer and inner colors on their taste test chart. For example: “This is a Hubbard squash, what color is the outside? Now open, what color is the inside?” Scoop seeds into a large bowl. Continue to the next squash.

Once all squashes are open and ready for tasting, start cutting up cubes of the squashes and separate the class into four groups, you’ll set a timer and have them go clockwise to taste each squash with a fork and plate, if they have a favorite they can get seconds (be prepared for extremes, some will love it, some will hate it). Encourage students to use lighter language to express their distaste (“I don’t like it” v. “This is gross!”). You can also use the attached tasting wheel​ to help students find descriptive words of what they’re experiencing. Have one student in each group read that variety’s seed story or description from a seed catalog at some point during the tasting time.

Any students that refuse to eat squash must help us not be wasteful! Have them separate the seeds from the pulp into a separate small bowl (it’s still a good idea to ask students to try one small bite before becoming seed separators)

Once students have tried all the squashes, make sure they finish their tasting notes and circle their favorite squash..

Reflect​: Was anyone surprised by the different squashes? How so?


Colonial recipes versus Native American recipes with the same crop
Three Sisters Garden planning, execution, and harvest
Boiled bread recipe, any Plymouth plantation recipes
Seed catalog investigation looking for colonial or Native American crops
Look further into Native American culinary heritage. Explore pemmican recipes, and experiment with drying thin strips of squash.