How to Best Harvest and Store Your Winter Squash

How to Best Harvest and Store Your Winter Squash
Winter squash such as Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti, Hubbard, or Delicata are varieties of squash that grow all summer, are harvested in the fall and stored for use over the winter. Harvest the squash when the vines have withered and the rind is tough enough that you cannot pierce it with your fingernail. Do not remove the stem, it helps prevent rotting over the winter. If you want to trim it, leave at least one inch of the stem. Remove the dirt or mud from the rind and cure the squash (except for Acorns) at around 80-85°F for about a week. This helps to harden up the skins and allows any cuts or scratches to heal over. Store in a single layer (if possible) in a location with good air flow. The best temperature for optimum storage is between 50-55°F. A garage or root cellar works well for a storage area. The rinds should be tough to protect the fruit from mold, bacteria or insects. Storage time will depend on the variety and conditions, but as a rule Acorn and Spaghetti squash will keep 2.5 months, Butternut 3-4 months and Hubbard up to 6 months. Remove any fruit that seems soft or looks like it is starting to turn. Enjoy all winter long the tasty squash in soups, pies, or baked.
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