Winter squash

It's high time for winter squash, and there's a cornucopia of eye-catching varieties to choose from. (Andre J. Jackson/Detroit Free Press/MCT)

Has a green, bluish-gray or a deep orange skin. The flesh is deep yellow and, when cooked, can be dry. It can be baked or steamed.

Named for its shape, this squash looks like a flat pumpkin with a smaller squash on top that can have green, orange, red and white streaks. Use in recipes that call for pie or sugar pumpkin.

Slow cooker butternut squash soup

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Total time: 6 hours 45 minutes (not all active time)
Serves: 6 (generously)

-- Cream cheese is the secret to a creamy ready-when-you-want-it squash soup.

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
1 ambercup, butternut or buttercup squash (about 2 pounds, peeled, cubed)
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed

In a 10-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender.