Ripe Squash has a dull-colored skin, firm shell, and are heavy for their size. Smooth shinny skin is an indication they are not ripe
Most varieties can be stored for several months if kept in a cool, dry, dark location. If exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees they will suffer damage, and if exposed to excessive heat the squash will begin to convert their starches too quickly. It is best to store the squash with part of the stem still attached to help hold the moisture in. They should also not be wrapped when stored.
Winter squash are often cooked and eaten on their own simply with salt and butter added. They also go well with other seasonings, such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice. Some winter squash are sweetened by adding brown sugar, maple syrup and honey. Winter squash can be added to soups, stews, curries, casseroles, and other squash are also used in pies, muffins, cakes, puddings, and other desserts.
Winter Squash is… Low in sodium, a good source of vitamin A, and high in fiber
The best time to harvest a gourd is when they’re done growing and are curing. And how can you tell this? Simple! You can tell if a gourd is done growing by looking at its stem right next to the gourd. If it has started to shrivel, turn brown and dry, then the gourd is done growing and it can be harvested. The body of the gourd may still be green, but the dried stem means that the gourd is not receiving any more nutrients from the vine; it is in the process of being "hardened off" and may be harvested. To harvest, simply cut the stem very close to the vine away from the gourd using a sharp knife or trimming shears. Don’t just twist it off. Leave as much of the stem on the gourd as possible. One reason for this is you may want to use the stem to hang them to complete the drying process.