Last Updated on October 31, 2022
Now that planting season is over and done with. It’s now time for harvesting our tasty veg. Acorn squash is another amazing kind of veg to grow in your garden but do you know when they are ready to pick? Let’s find out.
Acorn squash is from the family of winter squash that is grown and harvested just like other kinds of winter squash variety. When it comes to harvesting, winter squash is quite different from summer squash.
Getting to know when acorn squash is ready to pick isn’t so difficult and we will let you know in this post. So, let’s begin.
Acorn squash is a type of winter squash fruit that is from the family Cucurbita pepo and they are great in culinary dishes. Their outer skin is smooth with a hard skin and dry flesh. Acorn squash often has a dark green with a yellow or orange marking. It may also have orange or white variegated color.
The inner flesh has a golden (yellow-orange) color with a firm grip and buttery nutty taste. The texture is somewhat stringy and it has this sweet flavor.
With their sweet flavor, this acorn squash fruit can pair well with a wide variety of seasonings both savory and sweet.
One acorn squash, which is about 2 pounds, can make a meal for two when you stuff them with filling ingredients. Then baked and served right in their shell.
When Is Acorn Squash Ready To Pick
Getting to know when to pick acorn squash is very important so you don’t pick them at the wrong time. The confusing thing is that this squash can always turns green before they mature and they even stay green long after they are matured.
Gardeners would want to avoid harvesting an unripe acorn squash because an unripe acorn is totally boring in taste.
But generally, most varieties of acorn squash are often ready to be picked 75 to 100 days after seed planting. This will majorly depend on the right conditions you give them and one important factor is sunlight. Acorn squash should be supplied at least 6 hours of sun per day.
So how exactly do you know when acorn squash is ready to pick? Let’s find out.
When To Harvest Acorn Squash
Here are some ways you can tell when acorn squash is ready to pick.
One easy way to tell if your acorn squash is ready to be picked is from its color. A matured or ripe acorn will turn green then the portion of acorn squash that has been in contact with the ground would have a visible yellow patch.
Acorn squash which is still immature will have a shiny skin look compared to the ripen squash that will have a more dull look.
Once your acorn fruit is ripe, a couple of inches which is connected to the stem will become withered and brown.
3. Skin Texture
The skin texture of the acorn squash is another way to tell if they are ready to pick. A ripe acorn skin texture tends to be hard. On the other hand, an unripe acorn skin texture will be soft.
One good way of testing the maturity of the acorn fruit is by pressing your fingernail on the skin and try to make a mark on it. If you were successful in marking the fruit and the mark is noticeable, then it isn’t ripe yet. However, if you find it hard to make a noticeable mark on the tough skin, then it’s ripe.
As we mentioned, acorn squash will take about 75 to 100 days to become mature. But this should be after the seedling transplanting stage has passed. However, if you wish to calculate from the seed stage, you can add 2 weeks to the harvest time.
So, if every other tip fails, simply set a reminder and calculate 75 to 100 days or roughly 3 months after seed plating.
How To Harvest Acorn Squash
Once the acorn squash is ready to pick, use a sharp knife or a sharp tool to harvest your fruit. Aim at cutting the fruits 5 cm or 2 inches away from the stem. Avoid cutting the fruit too close to the stem. Cutting the acorn squash too close to the stem can predispose the plant to bacterial infection which can cause the plant to spoil.
We recommend you only harvest the ones you are ready to use. Leave the rest on the vine and allow it to harden some more so they can ripe fully. So far the weather is warm enough, the squash is safe and it will continue to mature. However, you should harvest them if they are prone to frost.
Storing Acorn Squash
Once you’ve harvested your acorn squash, storing them appropriately is important. This is so they can last longer and maintains their quality as you store them. Below are some important tips to storing your acorn squash appropriately:
- Temperature: Store your harvested acorn squash at a temperature between 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, store them in a cool dark place such as a pantry, basement, or warmer area of a root cellar.
- Humidity: The appropriate relative humidity to store your acorn squash is around 50 to 70%. Also, make sure your harvested acorn squash has adequate ventilation or airflow to encourage longer storage.
Generally, store acorn squash in a cool dry location. Refrain from piling up your harvested acorn fruits. You should rather create space between these fruits and spread them out in single rows. This will help make air circulation easier and it will also avoid bruising of the fruits. You can as well freeze your acorn squash to store them for long.
What are the factors that are considered when a squash is to be harvested?
Squash can be harvested at various stages of maturity, depending on the variety. The main factors are: The amount of sunlight that the plant has been receiving. Whether the plant is male or female. The size and shape of the squash. The color of the skin. The stage of ripeness, from green to fully ripe. The type of squash.
Squash at the supermarket is usually picked ripe. If you buy it unripe, you'll have to wait for it to ripen before eating it.
How do you know when an acorn squash is ready to pick?
I think they look a little like a pumpkin. The acorn squash is a variety of butternut squash and they look like a big butternut squash. The skin will be very dark green and the flesh will be yellow.
Squash are ready to pick when the stem is soft and easy to pull off.
If you need a visual guide, look for the following characteristics: The squash should be heavy for its size and feel firm to the touch. The stem should be soft and flexible with no dry or crunchy areas. If the squash is heavy, it is probably fully mature and has the best flavor.
Can you eat under ripe acorn squash?
If they are a little soft, then it's fine to cut them in half. But if they are very soft (like mush), then you should wait until they're completely tender.
If you want to eat them right away, then I'd suggest steaming them. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and steam it for about 15 minutes.
What color should acorn squash be inside?
I would suggest that you look at the color of the squash when it is ripe, and use that as a guide. I usually eat my acorn squash when it is yellow. If you look at your local farmers market, you will be able to find acorn squash that is close to being ripe, and you can decide from there.
Can you eat acorn squash when it turns orange?
The orange color of acorn squash comes from a chemical called beta-carotene, which is a nutrient found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. When eaten regularly, beta-carotene may help protect against certain cancers and eye diseases.
The color of a squash can change depending on the variety and growing conditions. And just like with many fruits and vegetables, the answer to that question is not black and white but a bit of gray. It’s a matter of how the vegetable was grown, the color it will be when cut and the color it will develop once it’s cooked.
Final Thoughts On When Are Acorn Squash Ready To Pick
As we can see, harvesting acorn squash is not so difficult if you have the right knowledge on how to go about it.
So we hope you’ve learned some good things you need to know about when acorn squash is ready to pick.
Eunice is an enthusiastic gardener with a passion for growing beautiful flowers. She loves nothing more than spending time in her garden, tending to her plants and enjoying the outdoors. Eunice has been gardening for over 15 years and has developed a unique style of landscaping that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. She is especially fond of growing roses and enjoys experimenting with different varieties and colors. Eunice takes great pride in her garden and often shares the fruits of her labor with friends and family. In her spare time, she enjoys reading gardening magazines and attending local horticulture events. Eunice is passionate about her hobby and is always eager to share her knowledge and experience with others.