Winter squash comes in several different sizes, shapes, colors and varieties. The most common winter squash varieties include acorn, banana, butternut, delicata and spaghetti. Winter squashes have a hard outer rind and orange flesh on the inside. These squashes come on later in the growing season and they have a longer shelf life making them a great staple in winter and even early spring months when other local vegetables are hard to come by.
Unlike summer squashes the rind on winter squash is hard and not edible. Choose winter squashes that have a hard rind, feel heavy and have no soft spots. You can store winter squash for several months in a cool pantry, cabinet, garage or basement.
Winter Squash Basics
What To Look For: Shop for winter squash based on an even color, a hard rind, firmness, and one that feels heavy for its size. Avoid squash that have soft spots, dull and wrinkled skin or is light for its size.
How to Store: It’s simple to prepare winter squash after the fall harvest. When storing winter squash directly from your garden, allow the squash to cure for 10 to 14 days. Curing simply means storing winter squash at a warm temperature with good air circulation. Curing the squash allows excess water to dissipate, which will make the skins harder for storing, reduce rot, and concentrates natural sweetness of the vegetable. Curing is not recommended for acorn squash varieties. After your squash have been cured, story them in a cool dry place.
The following is the shelf life of common winter squash varieties:
- Acorn Squash: Four weeks
- Spaghetti Squash: Four to Five weeks
- Butternut Squash: Up to six months
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