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How to Tell if Your Spaghetti Squash is Ripe

Spaghetti squash is one of the most well-known winter squash varieties grown. Easy to grow, it keeps for several weeks after harvest, and you can use it in a variety of dishes. However, if you are not very familiar with spaghetti squash or this is your first time growing it, you may have a hard time knowing when it is ripe.

What Spaghetti Squash Looks Like

Spaghetti squash is one of the winter squash varieties where a bright yellow color is a good thing. An unripe spaghetti squash will be a pale green or very light yellow, while a ripe one is a gorgeous, sunny yellow or golden color.

The inside of a ripe spaghetti squash can be a variety of colors, from a lemon yellow to a light orange. The final color depends on the spaghetti squash type you planted.

Tip: There are types of spaghetti squash that remain a pale cream color, but the most common variety is yellow. Look at your seed packet to be sure what the final color should be.

Other Signs of Maturity

When you plant your spaghetti squash seeds, you should also take note of the number of days from planting to harvest. For most spaghetti squash, the growing season is 90 days. Since not all squash will mature at the same rate, you should start checking your plants daily at about 85 days after planting.

When inspecting your spaghetti squash for ripeness, you should look for the following signs:

  • Vines that appear withered and close to death, despite having been watered.
  • Stems that are dried out and turning a silvery-gray color.
  • Skin that is bright yellow or gold.
  • A thick rind that does not bruise or scratch when you poke it with a fingernail.

When to Harvest the Squash

If you have noticed all of the signs of maturity, you can safely harvest the spaghetti squash. In fact, if you do not collect the fruits as they ripen, you can easily waste a lot of squash before you realize it! If you leave mature squash on the vine too long, it may soften and begin to rot. This is especially true if the colder autumn weather has not yet arrived.

Arm yourself with a sharp knife and a pair of gloves to protect your hands from the bristly vines. Then, hold the fruit in one hand while you slice it off the vine. Be sure to leave at least 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) of stem on each spaghetti squash. Leaving some stem helps protect the flesh from bacteria, which in turn makes it remain fresh for a more extended period.

Tip: Once the squashes have begun to ripen, check your crop daily and harvest them as soon as they are ready.

How Long Will Squash Last Off the Vine

If you store it correctly, it can last as long as 3 months. Make sure you keep it in a cool, dark room where the temperature remains between 50-55°F (10-13°C ). Additionally, store the squash with some room for air to flow between each one. If you do this, you should be able to extend the fruits of your harvest for some time.

Tip: Keeping spaghetti squash in the refrigerator is not recommended unless you plan to use it within a week or two.

How to Use Spaghetti Squash

There are myriad ways to use up your ripe spaghetti squash. For example, many people on low-carb or gluten-free diets use the pasta-like strands in place of traditional spaghetti. You can also chill the cooked squash and use it for a copycat pasta salad. May people also bake it and serve it with butter as a delicious side dish.

However you decide to prepare your spaghetti squash harvest, you will certainly enjoy the fresh taste of the ripe fruit.