Winter squashes-unlike soft-skinned summer squashes, which are picked immature off the vine-are harvested after their skin has hardened. The tough skins conceal richly colored flesh that ranges from the pale yellow of spaghetti squash to the deep orange of butternut squash. Buy squashes that are heavy for their size, with hard skins. Whole squash will keep several months in a cool, dry place; wrap cut pieces and refrigerate for 4 days.
For specific winter squashes, see acorn squash, banana squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, and spaghetti squash.