A Guide On How To Tell if a Squash is Bad 

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Last Updated on August 14, 2022

Let’s look at this guide on how to tell if a squash is bad and when it is best to harvest squashes before going bad.

Squash is one of the most popular vegetables across America. They are versatile, easy to grow, and can be stored for months with minimal care.

Many different types of squash include:

  • Summer Squashes like zucchini and yellow crookneck squash.
  • Winter Squashes like butternut, acorn, pumpkin, and spaghetti squash.  Butternut squash is often the most popular of the winter squashes. It is a good source of vitamin A and C and it is also loaded with fiber.

How To Tell if a Squash is Bad

To help you learn how to tell if squash is bad, you can follow this guide.

  1. The first thing you should do when buying a squash is to make sure that is firm and full of color. The squash should not have any damaged areas or brown spots.
  2. When you buy the squash, you should also be aware of the sell-by date.  Summer squash usually doesn’t last very long and they start going bad at the end of their shelf life.  Squash that is past the sell-by date should be thrown out as they are no longer safe to eat.
  3. Look for a rotten smell. If you find any, it’s likely the squash has mold and needs to be thrown out. Squash that has been rotting for a while may have worms or insects.
  4. If the squash has an overly rough skin texture this could be a sign that it is bad. This may indicate an infection from pests or a nutrient deficiency.

How Long Does it Take To Grow Squash?

To ensure that you save your squash from going bad, the best thing to do is to harvest it in good time. The harvest time for winter squash is between late September and early October and all season long for summer squash.

From planting seeds to harvesting, it takes approximately 80-110 days for winter squash and about 60 days for summer squash.

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Growing Conditions For Squash

  • The right temperature. Planting squash requires a warm-weather environment to grow well.  Summer squash prefers temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees Farenheit. If it is not grown under such conditions, then the plant can grow slowly or even die. Soil temperature should be around 70 degrees Farenheit.
  • Water.  In addition to these, a good amount of water must be available at all times. The soil should be kept moist but not wet. Squash seedlings are very sensitive to dampness.
  • Rich Fertile Soil.  Squash plants grow best in soil that is rich in nutrients. The soil should be fertile and well-drained. They grow best in soil with a pH between 6 and 6.8. The soil should be well-drained, but it should also be moist enough to allow the roots to breathe.
  • Sunlight. They require lots of sunlight, at least six hours a day.

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How To Tell If A Squash Is Bad
  • Growing Squash. The squash should be planted in rows or in a single bed. Squash plants grow best when they are spaced at least three to six feet apart.
  • Season. The best time to plant squash seeds is during the spring after the last frost.

When To Harvest

Squash is harvested when it reaches maturity, which is usually between 80 to 110 days for winter varieties and 60 days for summer varieties. Before you harvest, you’ll want to remove the squash from the vine.

It can be stored for several weeks in the refrigerator if you don’t plan on eating it right away. Squash will keep in your refrigerator for about a week and can be frozen for up to three months.

How To Cook

Squash is a delicious vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes, from sweet to savory. You can use it in soups, stews, casseroles, and other recipes that call for pumpkin or winter squash. Sautéing is the best way to prepare squash, as it adds a nice caramelized flavor. You can also bake the squash in the oven or roast it on a grill.

How To Cook Squash

Final Thoughts – How To Tell if a Squash is Bad

How to tell if a squash is bad is just by trying it, smelling it, or looking at it.  You can tell by the smell, the color, or the taste.  In some cases, the squash is already gone bad and you can tell just by looking at it.

The flesh is firm and dense, not mushy or watery.  Squash is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and potassium.

To prepare the squash you should peel it, cut it into pieces, and then steam or bake it.  If you are baking it, add a little bit of butter or oil.  Add some salt and pepper if you want to.  There are many kinds of squash available.

You have to be careful when buying squash to make sure they are still good.  Enjoy your squash when it’s still good!


What happens if you eat bad squash?

If you eat bad squash, you may develop a type of food poisoning known as toxic squash syndrome. Sypmtoms will include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

What does a bad squash look like inside?

A good squash is firm and healthy-looking on the inside with the flesh still intact and does not have a bad smell.

How to know if squash is bad?

A "bad" squash will have a hard rind or no rind at all. The color will likely have brown spots. There may be mold on the skin or seeds. You may notice a strong odor when you open it.

What does bad squash taste like?

The flavor of bad squash can range from mild to very bitter or even sour. If you notice the squash you are eating has a bad taste, you should stop eating it.

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