The kids are back in school and the slightly cooler weather has arrived, which means it’s time for all things pumpkin to return to stores. From actual pumpkins to pumpkin ice cream sandwiches, drinks and dog treats, pumpkin rules the season. Here a few of our favorite products, recipes, tips, tricks and more!

Look beyond butternut squash’s intimidating hard skin, and you’ll find a bright orange flesh, buttery texture and slightly sweet, nutty flavor — with so many meal possibilities! Why should you make butternut squash your go-to ingredient for fall and winter meals?

1. It’s a nutritional ingredient with taste, texture and autumn nostalgia.
Butternut squash is one of the season’s all-star ingredients for good reason. It satisfies as the headlining ingredient in recipes like the always-popular Classic Butternut Squash Soup, adds flavor to salads, lends creaminess to rice dishes, and offers sweetness to desserts like Butternut Custard Pecan Pie.

Plus, try winter squash like butternut in place of potato sometimes and you’ll get a rich source of vitamins A and C plus small amounts of a variety of mineral nutrients.

2. It’s got versatile flavor that will pair beautifully with almost anything.
Like other winter squash, butternut squash pairs well with a variety of flavors from cinnamon and cumin to coconut oil and toasted nuts, making it a versatile choice for weekday meals and celebrations too.

3. It’s easy to store, and lasts longer than you might think.
Butternut squash can be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place for a month or more. After cutting, store it in an airtight container or wrap tightly and refrigerate.

4. It’s easy to cut and prepare…really!
Don’t be daunted by its rock-hard surface! We can help with this how-to guide for cutting butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash.

5. It’s a prime candidate for roasting, which makes for great make-ahead meal planning.
Its dense flesh caramelizes well, taking on deep sweetness and nuttiness. It doesn’t get more straightforward than this no-prep Easiest Whole Roasted Winter Squash recipe — plunk the whole squash on a baking sheet and roast until tender. Once roasted, serve as-is, or spoon into gratins, casseroles, winter salads and stews. Or you can purée in a food processor until smooth to make soups, risottos, dips and spreads, or baked goods.

With their unusual shapes and varied colors, winter squash — including acorn, spaghetti and butternut squash — make beautiful table decorations. Nothing pretties up a place like a small bunch of squash and pumpkins on the table, especially when today’s decor becomes tomorrow’s dish.