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Sunday, December 17, 2017

How to Harvest Butternut Squash

Butternut squash fully mature and ready to harvest

Q. When do you harvest butternut squash?
A. Butternut squash, a winter squash, should be fully mature before it is harvested. Knowing when to harvest comes from experience.
            Look at the color of the squash fruit and the condition of the vine. Squash fruit should be tan, brown or orange brown depending on the variety and the vine at the point of connection to the fruit should look like it’s dying.

            In early winter, another way is to let the vine die from a light freeze and cut the vine from the squash fruit. A common method talked about is to press a thumbnail into the “skin”. When mature, the skin should be difficult to scratch or puncture. This is a rather subjective method and I don’t like it much.
            I don’t particularly like this method because it can puncture the outer skin. This puncture or wound is a possible entry point for rotting microorganisms if squash fruits are stored for any length of time. All fruits and vegetables should be handled carefully without creating damage.
            Don’t pull squash fruits from the vine because the wound left when the vine separates from the fruit damages the outer skin and leaves an open wound, unless you’re going to cook or process it right away.
             Cut the vine from the squash fruit, leaving about ½ inch of vine attached. They store better at garage temperatures than house temperatures.

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