How To Store Winter Squash: Enjoy this Shelf Stable Vegetables for Months

How to Store Winter Squash

If you are anything like me- you love #wintersquashseason! Whether you grew your own, or want to stock up from the store with USA grown winter squash, here are some tips for storing:

  • Choose the right squash: Select mature, undamaged winter squash with intact skin. Common varieties include butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash.

  • Harvest properly: When picking squash from the garden, use sharp pruning shears or a knife to cut the stem, leaving a small portion attached to the squash (about 1 inch).

  • Wash with water and vinegar: Before storage, clean the squash by washing them with a mixture of water and vinegar. Use a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water. Gently scrub the squash with a brush or cloth to remove dirt and any potential contaminants.

  • Cure the squash: Place the freshly washed squash in a warm, dry location (around 80-85°F or 27-29°C) for 10-14 days. This process helps harden the skin and extend storage life.

  • Check for damage: Inspect the squash for any signs of damage or soft spots. Damaged squash should be used promptly and not stored.

  • Store in a cool, dry place: Keep the washed and cured squash in a cool, well-ventilated area, ideally around 50-55°F (10-13°C). A cellar, basement, or a dark pantry can work well.

  • Space out squash: Avoid piling or overcrowding squash, as good air circulation helps prevent rot.

  • Use slatted shelves or crates: Elevate squash on slatted shelves or wooden crates to ensure good airflow around each piece.

  • Regularly check for signs of spoilage: Periodically inspect stored squash and remove any that show signs of decay, as one rotten squash can quickly affect others.

  • Store butternut squash differently: Butternut squash, due to its thinner skin, may not keep as long as other varieties. It's best to consume or use them within a few months.

  • Use damaged squash first: If you have squash with minor blemishes, use those first, as they won't store as long as pristine ones.

By including the step of washing with water and vinegar, you can ensure that your winter squash are clean and free from contaminants before storing them for an extended period.