Winter squash and pumpkins are members of the gourd family which also includes watermelons, muskmelons, and cucumbers. Winter squash and pumpkin differ from summer squash in that they are eaten when they are fully ripe; the seeds are mature and hard and the rind is tough. Summer squash is eaten when immature and the rinds and seeds are soft. Winter squash includes acorn, butternut, buttercup, delicious, and hubbard. Pumpkins are most often purchased for Halloween jack-o-lanterns or fall decorating, but they also make good eating.
Store winter squash and pumpkin at cool room temperature, about 60 degrees F. and they will keep for several months. Here is a good fall vegetable dish to make which combines winter squash and apples. Squash Apple Casserole 2 1/2 cups fresh squash or pumpkin, cut in 1-inch chunks 1 1/2 cups cooking apples, pared, cut in 11/2-inch slices 1/4 cup butter 1/4 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup walnuts, pecans, or chestnuts, coarsely chopped Salt to taste
Prepare squash and apples. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter; combine with brown sugar, cinnamon, nuts, and salt. Place a layer of squash in a 2-quart casserole dish; drizzle with butter and sugar mixture. Top with a layer of apples and drizzle with butter and sugar mixture. Repeat until all ingredients are used.
Dot with remaining tablespoon of butter. Cover casserole and bake in 350 degrees F. oven for 45 minutes, or until tender. Makes 4 servings.