Maple Sugar Baked Carnival Squash with Orange and Thyme

Carnival Squash


The pumpkin-shaped Carnival Squash has a pale yellow skin with green markings and often ranges in size from 5 to 7 inches in diameter. Unlike summer squash (which are picked when immature and skins are tender), Carnival Squash have hard, thick skins and only the flesh is eaten. The delicious yellow meat is reminiscent of sweet potatoes and butternut squash and can be baked or steamed then combined with butter and fresh herbs.

Selection, Storage & Handling:

Choose squash that have a hard, deep-colored rind free of blemishes or moldy spots. Tender skin indicates immaturity or poor quality. The hard skin protects the flesh and allows it to store longer than summer squash. Store Carnival Squash in a cool, preferably dark, well-ventilated area for up to one month. Wrap cut pieces in plastic and refrigerate up to five days.

Carnival Squash may be cooked whole or split lengthwise (removing seeds). Pierce whole squash in several places, and bake halved squash hollow side up. – Melissa’s Produce

Carnival Squash



  • 3 Carnival Squash
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 6 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
  • 6 Teaspoons Pure Maple Syrup
  • Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
  • Zest and Juice of 1 Orange

Baked Carnival Squash


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut carnival squash in half and remove all seeds.
  3. Place squash on a cookie sheet or in a large glass baking dish, cut side facing up.
  4. Evenly distribute butter between the squash halves, rubbing it all over the insides.
  5. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  6. Place 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar in each half.
  7. Place 1 Teaspoon of maple syrup in each half.
  8. Place baking sheet or glass baking dish on the center rack of your oven, and then pour a 1/2-inch of water into the baking sheet or dish.
  9. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours.  The squash should be very soft and the tops should be browned.
  10. Remove carnival squash from oven and let rest for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove squash from skin with a large spoon or using your fingers, placing it into a medium size bowl.
  12. Add orange zest and juice, fresh thyme, black pepper, and a pinch of salt; mix well.

Baked Carnival Squash


  • Using water in the cookie sheet or baking dish will not only help keep the squash moist, but keep it from burning on the bottom.
  • I found it easier to remove the squash from the skin with my hands; it was easy to feel any little bits of hard outer skin that accidentally made it into the mixture.
  • You may decide it is easier and quicker to just sprinkle each cooked carnival squash half with a bit of salt, pepper, thyme, and orange zest and juice, and forego scooping out the squash.  You will not need to wait the 30 minutes for the squash to cool down this way.
  • Carnival squash can sit around for awhile before it will go bad, making it a great ingredient to pick up at the market for later on down the road when you don’t have anything else handy.


  • Add 1/4 cup of diced sweetened cranberries.
  • Add 1/4 cup of chopped pecans.
  • Add 1/4 cup of crumbled goat cheese.

Brenna & Carnival Squash

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  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen a carnival squash, but it sure looks good.

    • They’ve become pretty common to see in the market at this time of year. They are extremely hard to cut in half, but worth the effort.