Harvesting butternut too early may not be ideal because the texture will be too firm and the sugars aren’t well developed yet. While if you harvest them too late, you may get a mushy squash that’s not appropriate. So when are butternut squash really ready to pick?
When the fall period begins to approach, most growers wonder when they can harvest their butternut squash so they can be stored and doesn’t get damaged. Inappropriate harvest time can result in conditions that will make your butternut squash inadequate for prolonged storage thereby facing issues.
There are different signs to show you when butternut squash is ready to be picked and that is what we will be discussing today. So continue reading to gain some knowledge on this and more.
Butternut Squash, When To Pick
This may be your first time growing butternut squash and you’re wondering when they are ready to pick. Well, the answer is pretty easy but you have to consider a couple of things when it comes to picking and storing this nutritious vegetable. So, let’s look into this.
When Do You Pick Butternut Squash?
Harvesting butternut squash at the appropriate time requires you to follow the prescribed harvesting time so you can store them appropriately.
Butternut squash is grown in spring or summer because they flourish in hot weather. It will take this plant about 3 to 4 months to fully mature. So if you planted your butter squash during spring or summer, the best period to harvest them will be around October or November. You can as well pick them in early winter.
Apart from knowing the duration till these plants mature, you need to be aware of some signs that will let you know the butternut squash is matured for picking. Below are some of these signs.
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Signs To Know When Butternut Squash Is Ready To Pick
Here are 4 signs to tell you your butternut squash is ready to be picked:
One way to know when butternut squash is ready to pick is to notice its appearance. Notice the color of the squash. When it’s ripe, it will give a solid tan peanut color. The outer shell will also become hard.
As butternut squash grows on the vine, it will give rise to green vertical lines which will fade out as they mature. So, if you notice your squash is still green with lines, you should wait for about a week or two until you can see its matured form.
Butternut squash is ripe and ready to be picked when the fruit becomes firm or tough enough to resist being punctured with a fingernail. So when the rind or outer part becomes tough, that’s a sign they are ready to be picked.
The length will also give you a sign it’s ready to be picked. Ideally, the squash ripens or mature when it attains 8 to 10 inches. Observe the length of the squash every day as they grow, and when you notice they’ve stopped growing, then it’s time to pick them.
Observe The Stem
The stem can as well let you know this squash is ready to be picked. Once the stem becomes brown and cracky, it’s a sign of maturity. This is because as the butternut squash attains maturity, nutrients cease being transported to the squash and stem. Then the stem colors will change from green to brown.
How To Harvest Butternut Squash
Harvest your butternut squash the right way by making use of a sharp knife to carefully cut the fruit from the vine. At the same time, ensure you still have about 2 inches of stem still attached to the squash. Not cutting the stem appropriately can introduce bacteria.
If you mistakenly bruise or cut the squash, know that it can’t be stored for long. So you have to make use of it as soon as possible. You can as well make use of any severely damaged butternut squash as a compost heap.
Storing Butternut Squash
So we already learned how to detect when butternut squash is matured. The next thing is to know how to store them appropriately for later use.
- Table or Shelf: you can store butternut squash for about 10 to 14 days at room temperature by placing them on a table or shelf.
- Store in a Dry Place or Room: For best storage for up to 5 to 6 months, avoid storing them in the refrigerator. Refrigerating will make them absorb moisture thereby losing their toughness. Hence result in rotting. For good storage results, store or place them in a dry place. The temperature should range from about 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, the humidly for storing them should be about 60 to 70%. Hence, a dry room or basements are a perfect place to store them.
- Cut and Store: it’s possible to store butternut squash in the refrigerator by simply cutting them into small or medium sizes. When you do this, ensure you peel off the outer skin. Also, take away the inner seeds with a spoon.
When storing the butternut squash, it’s best you don’t pile them up but store them in single layers. This way, there will be less touching of each squash and less damage. Always observe or monitor your butternut squash every week for any sign of rot.
You can as well calculate the date you planted your butternut seeds or plants. It will take approximately 110 to 120 days to attain maturity. So you can simply note down the date you planted your butternut squash so you can have an idea of the expected harvest time.
However, some factors such as climate, soil conditions, nutrients, etc can delay or hasten their growth rate.
Getting to know the appropriate period to pick your butternut squash is important so storing them for long does not cause an issue.
Once you’ve confirmed the signs listed in our articles, you can now pick your butternut squash and enjoy some tasty squash delicacy. You can as well store them appropriately even for up to 6 months.