Acorn Squash Turning Orange

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Last Updated on December 27, 2022

Acorn squash turning orange may have you wondering if it’s still in good shape. Depending on the variety of seeds you are growing, acorn squash can vary in color. We can have yellow, dark green, tan, or orange colors of acorn squash.

However, you may have purchased or harvested a dark green acorn squash and the skin turned orange and you wonder if it’s gone bad. We will discuss this here.

The skin of your acorn squash turning orange is not so uncommon. We will be explaining why this is so and we will be discussing more information related to this. So, continue reading to gain some knowledge.

Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is a winter squash with a mild butter flavor. It can be eaten raw and it’s perfect to be cooked with different dishes.

They can be botanically classified as fruit. But they are as well considered starchy vegetables which can be used just like other high-carb vegetables like butternut squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Also, the starch level of potatoes is similar to acorn squash.

Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is packed with great nutrients for man’s health. They are rich in antioxidants that help in getting rid of toxic elements known as free radicals. Antioxidants protect against adverse health risks such as heart diseases, arthritis, high blood pressure, and even certain cancer.

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Orange Acorn Squash

Usually, most acorn squash tends to go dark green when ripe. Unless you intentionally planted an orange variety of acorn squash, an orange acorn squash often means they are overripe.

So whenever you find that your acorn squash has turned orange you can do or notice the following to see if it is still fine to use:

  • Cut the acorn squash open and observe the inner part.
  • The acorn squash should not be moldy or slimy. If it is moldy or slimy. But if it has mold or slimy seeds, it means the acorn squash has gone bad and should be discarded.
  • There shouldn’t be any soft spots in the outer part or inner flesh.
  • You can as well tell the condition from the stem of the acorn squash. When you take a closer look at the stem and you notice the stem limps, that’s a bad sign.

Squash Seeds- Table Queen Acorn- Heirloom- 40+ Seeds

Usually, the orange color you may notice means the acorn squash has become a little overripe. Acorn squash turning orange does not mean the squash has gone bad all the time.

Expert farmers even suggest you go for acorn squash that has dark green and a couple of orange spots on the bottom. This type of appearance usually assures a perfect level of ripeness.

Check out When Are Butternut Squash Ready To Pick?

How To Select The Perfect Acorn Squash

To harvest perfectly ripe acorn squash, ensure they are dark green. Their weight should also be around one to three pounds. If the acorn squash becomes too big, they tend to be stringy and dry.

Some acorn squash may have a patch of orange color. Usually, the portion that has been in contact with the ground tends to turn from yellow to orange. However, have in mind that we have some orange varieties of acorn squash like the Golden acorn (naturally orange when ripe or ready).

Additionally, you can know a ripe acorn squash from its rind and skin that will become hard. You can also do a fingernail test by trying to push your fingernail into the squash. If it is difficult to pierce, your acorn squash is ready for harvest.

Also, to select or buy an ideal acorn squash, choose the ones with shiny, smooth skin that also have a heavy feel to them. This means it has been harvested at the right time.

Bad Acorn Squash

To know if your acorn squash has gone bad, just slice it into two. If you notice there are any moldy, slimy, grey seeds, then it’s a sign the squash has gone bad. Also, when the stem of acorn squash limps, that’s a sign it is overly ripe and may have gone bad.

When the acorn squash has totally turned from green to orange and it doesn’t have any mold or slimy grey seeds, it may be safe to use. But this type of squash will probably be stringy with less flavor.

How Long Can Acorn Squash Be Stored?

How you store your acorn squash can contribute to it turning green to orange. This is why you should know the right way to store them so they remain fine and edible for two or even three months.

So here are some tips for storing acorn squash so they remain edible for a good period:

  • Store acorn squash in a cool, dark, dry place while the stalk is still intact. With the stalk intact, it helps prevent fungi and bacteria from invading the squash. This helps the squash maintains moisture and prevents it from spoiling. But once the acorn squash has turned orange, check if it’s still in good shape and use it right away.
How Long Can Acorn Squash Be Stored
  • You can as well store acorn squash in the fridge. To store in the fridge, peel the squash and slice it into pieces. Then keep the sliced acorn squash in a sealed container in the fridge. Acorn squash can remain edible for about 3 to 4 days if kept in the fridge this way.
  • You can also cook acorn squash first and then freeze them.
  • Ensure you store them above a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, hot air can predispose acorn squash to have a shorter shelf life.

How Long Does it Take Acorn Squash to Mature?

Most varieties of acorn squash ripen about 80-100 days after they have been planted. To get a more exact date of ripening of the variety you are planting, you must look at the “days to full maturity” or “days to harvest” stated on the packet of your seeds.

If you are still unsure even after the stated time has arrived, the best way to tell if your acorn squash is ready for harvest is by examining the look and feel of the skin. Ripened acorn squash turns to a dark green color. The part of the squash that is touching the ground will turn from yellow to orange. On top of these factors, the rind or skin of the squash will also become hard.

Another way to check if an acorn squash is ready is to check the plant’s stem. The stem will become withered and turn to a brown color when the squash has ripened

The best time to harvest acorn squash if you can time your planting well is when temperatures start to dip down towards freezing night temperatures and both the leaves and vines start to die off. Simply cut the squash off the vine. Leave a piece of the stem on the squash for as long as possible. This will help protect the squash from rotting.

If you harvest an acorn squash at the right time, when you cook it it will have a slightly firm yet buttery texture. It will also be slightly sweet but not over-ripe and mushy.

Why is My Acorn Squash White Inside?

White acorn squash is a variety of acorn squash. It is botanically classified as Cucurbita pepo. It grows on a compact bush and belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae which is the same family that pumpkins and zucchini belong to.

The white acorn squash is also known as pepper squash because of its color. It is a winter variety and is well known for its amazing storage as well as tender texture

Acorn squash is quite popular in the United States because of the small space that it requires to grow. It can be used in the preparation of both sweet and savory dishes.

The white acorn squash is typically ready for harvest between 90-115 days after planting. It is best to harvest it in the fall before the frost. You will know that it is ready for harvest when the rind or skin has a consistent deep color and a very firm texture. If you are still in doubt, open one and use it to check if it is ready before harvesting the rest.

The white acorn squash is of a small to medium size and can get to lengths of between 12-20 cm and a diameter of 10-12 cm.

When cooked, the white acorn squash has a smooth and tender texture. It also has a mild and sweet flavor.

A bit of history about the acorn squash; The regular green squash was domesticated by the Native Americans, and the white is a fairly new variety that was only developed in 1980 by Glenn Drowns, a squash collector and expert. The white acorn squash is quite rare and only found in specialty supermarkets and distributors in the US. 

Acorn Squash Turning Orange: Conclusion

Acorn squash turning yellow isn’t always a bad sign. All you have to do is simply examine the squash if it’s in good condition to use. When your acorn squash has orange spots or is slightly orange, it may still be safe to use.

However, once it has become soft and when you slice your acorn squash open, you notice moldy, slimy, grey seeds, that’s a sign it has gone bad. It should be discarded right away.


Why is my squash turning orange?

Squash (Cucurbita pepo) is a fruit that can be stored for months. It's also one of the most commonly grown vegetables in the world. Squash is the main source of vitamin A in our diets, and is an excellent source of fibre, vitamins C, K and B6. In the UK, most squash are grown as part of the winter harvest.
Squash can turn orange for a number of reasons, including heat stress, or some sort of physical damage to the plant. You may need to keep the soil moist but avoid flooding the plants, and give them a bit of fertilizer. If your squash are getting orange and turning mushy, it could be heat stress. Squash are pretty hardy and will survive in temperatures up to about 115°F for a short period of time, but prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause leaves to wilt, stems to turn brown, and fruit to turn mushy. To avoid this, keep your plants in a shaded area or under a shade cloth, and give them extra water when the weather gets hot.

What color should acorn squash be?

Acorn squash is the perfect winter squash. It has a lovely flavor and is very versatile. It can be used as a substitute for pumpkin in recipes, baked, or simply eaten plain.

Most of the winter squashes are orange or yellow in color. This is because they have a natural coating on them called “parchment.” Parchment protects the squash from moisture and insects.

Is orange acorn squash ripe?

The best way to judge the ripeness of an acorn squash is to look at its color. When you pick up the squash, it should feel heavy for its size and have a nice rich, deep color.
Another thing to check is that the skin is beginning to split. If it doesn't, it's probably not ready. Then you can see if there's a little give when you gently press down on the bottom of the squash. If it doesn't give, it's probably not ready. When you're ready, the squash should be fairly heavy for its size.
The squash can be cooked immediately or kept in a cool place for up to three days. If you decide to keep the squash in your refrigerator, wrap it loosely in plastic and store it in a plastic bag or container in the vegetable crisper section of the refrigerator.

Why is my acorn squash pale?

If your acorn squash has a pale color, it’s not rotten or rotting. It’s just that the skin on the bottom side of the acorn squash is dry and brown. This means the moisture level in the flesh is low.

Will acorn squash ripen off the vine?

corn squash is a summer squash, so it will ripen right on the vine. But you can't really tell when it's ripe until you cut into it and see how soft it is. You don't have to worry about storing it if it's still green, but it will turn yellow faster if it stays on the vine longer.

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