title-fall-harvest-delicata-squash

Fall Harvest of Delicata Squash

Delicata squash has been growing in popularity since the early 2000s. Researchers at Cornell University have developed a non-hybrid bush variety seed that produces greater yields, at least partially due to its disease resistance. Higher yields equate to more delicata squash in markets. The new bush variety also makes it possible for small space gardeners to grow it successfully.

How Many Days to Harvest Time

In the perfect conditions, delicata squash is ready to be harvested in 80 to 105 days after planting the seeds. There are some variations in the maturity date depending on the variety. Here are some varieties with their days to maturity:

  • Delicata (heirloom) Squash (100 days)
  • Honey Boat Delicata Squash (105 days)
  • Sugar Loaf Delicata Squash (100 days)
  • Bush Delicata Squash (80 days)

What Season Delicata Squash Is Harvested

Delicata squash is considered a winter squash which means it is harvested in the fall in most locations; however, it is technically in the summer squash (Cucurbita pepo) family. Its rind is edible once cooked, unlike other winter squashes.

How to Know It Is Harvest Time

Between 80 and 105 days, depending on the variety, you will begin observing a few indications that the delicata squash is ready for picking. The first indicator is the white rind becoming beige and developing an orange hue. Secondly, the skin will not dent when a fingernail is pressed into it. Lastly, the plant stems will begin to dry out.

How to Pick Delicata Squash

The storage life of delicata squash may be shortened if the squash is not picked properly. Always leave about 2 inches of the stem on the squash when cutting off the plant: less than 2 inches can cause rotting of the squash in storage. Sharp shears or a knife should be used to cut the squash from the vine.

How to Store Delicata Squash

After picking the delicata squash, never use water to clean it before storing it. The water will promote rot. Just wipe off excess dirt with a soft dry cloth. Water can be used to clean it just prior to cooking.

Unlike other winter squashes, delicata squash will not benefit from the curing that prolongs storage life. Just skip the curing stage and store for two to three months under the ideal conditions. These ideal conditions are:

  • A cool, dry room
  • Temperature between 50°F (10°C) and 55°F (13°C)
  • Relative humidity of 60-70 percent

The sweet-tasting delicata squash you store can be enjoyed in delicious dishes until November or December in most locations. This squash is simple to grow and simple to store.