In Season: Like other hard-shelled winter squash, spaghetti squash is harvested in the early fall. It keeps for months in cool storage, so it's available in markets throughout the winter and spring.What to Look For: Mature spaghetti squash is oblong in shape with a creamy-yellow shell. Choose firm squash that's free of soft spots and feels heavy for its size.How to Store: Uncut spaghetti squash keeps well in a cool, dry place for up to one month.
In Season: Acorn squash is at its peak from October through December, though many supermarkets carry it year-round.What to Look For: With its ridged, dark-green skin, sweet yellow-orange flesh, and handy size, acorn squash is one of the most popular winter squashes. Choose acorn squash that is heavy for its size, with a hard skin free of blemishes.How to Store: The squash's sturdy exterior allows it to be stored at room temperature for up to one month, or longer if kept in a cool, dark place.
In Season: Similar to other types of winter squash such as pumpkins and acorn squash, butternut squash are at their best from early fall through winter.What to Look For: Butternut squash have a hard, light-tan rind and a golden-orange flesh. They range in size from 6 to 12 inches long and weigh between 2 and 5 pounds; choose one that feels heavy for its size. The skin should be smooth and uniform in color with a matte surface.How to Store: This hardy squash can be kept for up to three months in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate.
In Season: Pumpkins begin to ripen in September. Because they store well, pumpkins are available all through the fall and winter. What to Look For: Make sure to choose a variety of pumpkin that's intended for cooking rather than for decoration. The ubiquitous field pumpkin -- the kind most commonly used to carve jack-o'-lanterns -- has watery, stringy flesh and is not recommended for eating. Sugar pumpkins and cheese pumpkins are two widely available varieties that are good for cooking and baking, thanks to their dense, sweet flesh. How to Store: Pumpkins keep well at room temperature for up to a month. Stored in a cool cellar or refrigerator, they can last up to three months. Once cut, pumpkin pieces should be wrapped tightly and refrigerated. Use cut pumpkin within five days.