Growing squash is an enjoyable experience, and one of the best squash varieties to grow is winter squash. It turns into spaghetti-like filaments when cooked and shredded, which differ from other squash such as Butternut Squash.
It has a sweet flavor, and the creamy texture goes with a variety of sauces, cheeses, and herbs in pasta dishes. However, most gardening tips will tell you; you need to harvest spaghetti squash varieties at the right moment for the best flavor. Although, you can pick spaghetti squash and store it for a long time once harvested.
Generally, you’ll harvest spaghetti squash in late summer or early fall before the first winter frost. Many gardeners estimate 40-50 days after the yellow squash blooms; you’ll have spaghetti squash ripe for harvesting. (Learn How To Tell If Cucumber Is Pollinated)
Unfortunately, this may not be the best way to go about picking homegrown spaghetti squash. Luckily, there are other ways to determine when you can go from green spaghetti squash to when your spaghetti squash is ripe for picking.
In our guide, you can learn how to know when is spaghetti squash ripe.
By the end, you’ll know enough to know when to pick spaghetti squash or give it a few more days before you can store your squash at the end of the growing season.
Types of Spaghetti Squash
There are various cultivars of spaghetti squash, which you may not be aware of.
Because different spaghetti squash is ripe at different periods, the kind you choose will impact your spaghetti squash.
Consider the following options:
- Tivoli Spaghetti Squash: A large squash plant with creamy skin instead of deep yellow skin. It takes 98 days to maturity after planting seeds.
- Goldetti: Another large squash with orange-gold skin and inner flesh. It offers high yields and takes 100 days to maturity from the seed packet.
- Sugaretti: You’ll see this squash differs as it has green stripes and speckles. It has the appearance of other squash (Delicata) yet tastes like ripe spaghetti squash and takes 90 days to maturity from squash seeds.
- Small Wonder: Here is a quick maturing spaghetti squash that is half-sized compared to regular spaghetti squash. It has high yields, and you can store it well. From seeds, it takes 80 days to maturity.
How Do You Know When Spaghetti Squash Is Ready To Pick?
Here you can find the best ways to know when to harvest spaghetti squash.
Days to Maturity
When growing spaghetti squash, the first thing to look for is the days to maturity listed on the seed packet. (Read Is An Onion A Vegetable)
Most spaghetti squashes are ready in 90 to 110 days. The maturity dates are calculated based on the number of days since you planted the seed.
Until that time, you have little worry of when to harvest. Your squash will be ripe in late summer, usually late September, for most northern gardeners.
Remember that the days to maturity shown on the seed pack correspond to when the first fruit ripens. The other squash fruit can ripen at different times, and some can take another month before you pick ripe spaghetti squash.
Fruit Color Change
When to pick spaghetti, squash plants can be seen from the skin. It will change color from a creamy white to a fully ripe golden yellow color.
It is unripe if the skin of the squash has uneven color, such as green spots or streaks, or if the squash is half yellow.
It helps know when it is harvest time for your garden winter squash if you use a color indicator to check the vine and carry out the fingernail test.
Squash Skin Glossiness Changes
When the skin of a winter squash becomes dull and lets you know when to pick spaghetti squash.
The squash is ripe for plucking when it has a matte, non-shiny appearance. If the squash skin is shiny, it is immature and requires additional time in the garden until it is fully ripe.
Color and Dryness of Vine
As the season progresses and your squash matures, the vines and leaves around your squash begin to die off and get dry completely before they turn brown; now is the time when to pick spaghetti squash.
Skin Toughness and The Fingernail Test
The fingernail test is the last and most reliable way of determining when to pick spaghetti squash. The skin of an immature spaghetti squash will be soft.
If you leave a mark on the skin or puncture it, the spaghetti squash will take longer to harvest.
The hard, tough skin of fully ripe winter squash makes it difficult to mark or puncture with a fingernail. However, keep in mind that an overripe squash will have mushy spots and a soft, and the skin of the squash is easily marked.
You will also find the harder outer rind is one thing that differentiates these from summer squash.
Will Spaghetti Squash Ripen If You Pick It Early?
It is possible to get spaghetti squash that is almost mature to ripen off the vine if you anticipate an early hard freeze. The squash will be more likely to ripen off the vine as it gets older.
Thump the squash to see if it’s mature. It should sound hollow when you thump it, showing that it is ready to be picked off the vine.
This method for determining when spaghetti squash is ready to harvest works for all winter squashes.
Bring the spaghetti squash inside, wash it, and set it in a warm, sunny window.
Rotate the squash to expose the green spots to the sun over a few weeks, and your squash should ripen to a deep golden yellow. Here, you can see how to ripen winter squashes and pumpkins. (Read Is It Safe To Eat Zucchini With Powdery Mildew)
How to Harvest Spaghetti Squash
You can let your spaghetti squash ripen off the vine if you’re anticipating an early winter frost or want to pick it before it’s entirely ripe.
It’s easy to harvest spaghetti squash. However, it’s critical to use a sharp knife or a pair of sharp garden pruners.
It’s crucial to leave 3 or 4 inches of stem attached when harvesting spaghetti squash.
Leaving at least 3 inches of stem attached to the squash prolongs storage and prevents bacteria from entering and rotting it.
When the spaghetti squash is ripe, clip it from the main vine and bring it inside to eat or cure for store.
Spaghetti squash should be rinsed and dried. To ripen, place it in a warm, sunny position. If there are any green areas on the squash, make sure they face the sun.
You may need to rotate or move your winter squash slowly to ensure that it ripens. Then, when it’s ready and ripe, it’ll develop a wonderful golden yellow color.
Overview of squash harvest
- When the color of the spaghetti squash changes to golden yellow, it’s time to harvest. Harvesting spaghetti squash with a green tinge is not recommended, as the green shows that the squash isn’t ready to be picked from the vine.
- Use your fingernail to scratch the rind. Allow the rind to ripen for a few more days if it is soft and readily scratched. After that, the flesh should be hard and resist scratching.
- Using garden shears or pruners, clip the stem off the spaghetti squash.
- Pulling the squash from the vine may cause the stem to get dislodged. Because removing the stem causes the squash to rot, leave a 2- to 3-inch length.
Cure Spaghetti Squash for Storage
Curing is the last step before putting your squash away for the winter. Curing allows the skin to complete the final hardening process, extending its storage life.
Wash and dry your ripe spaghetti squash before starting to cure it. Next, clean the squash using a bleach solution (ten percent bleach, ninety percent water) or white vinegar. Bacteria will be killed, and mildew will be removed using either of these approaches.
Then place your squash in a warm, dry location, such as a garage or a covered patio.
Temperatures of 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit are optimal for curing (26 to 30 degrees Celsius). Allow 10 to 14 days to cure spaghetti squash before putting them in their long-term storage place.
Storing Spaghetti Squash
The ideal temperature for storing spaghetti squash is between 50- and 55-degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 13 degrees Celsius). So, you’re looking for somewhere dark and dry to hide.
Basements that aren’t heated and insulated garages are both wonderful options. Just make sure your spaghetti squash doesn’t freeze, as this will hasten their decomposition.
Avoid stacking spaghetti squash on top of each other. Instead, it’s best if they’re laid out in a single layer, preferably without touching.
Air circulation is impeded when squash are stacked on top of each other, and rot can quickly spread to other squash.
Check your squash weekly for signs of deterioration or rot while it’s in storage, and eliminate any squash that displays signs of deterioration or rot.
Although spaghetti squash can be stored for a few months (3 to 6 months), it does not keep as well as other squashes and should be used as soon as possible.
You may also make your spaghetti squash and freeze it in serving-size sachets for up to 8 months.
Cleaning the squashes to remove any mold, mildew, dirt, or dust is necessary before storing your harvest. Wipe off the entire rind with a disinfection solution made up of 10% bleach and 90% water. Before you store spaghetti squash, make sure it is dry completely.
If you’re cooking spaghetti squashes, the noodles can be frozen and kept for up to 6 months. Before freezing the vegetable noodles, prepare them by cooking the squash, allowing it to cool, and then chill it for at least 12 hours.
After that, drain any excess moisture and dry the noodles before freezing. Precooked noodles can be stored in plastic freezer bags. (Read White Spots On Squash Leaves – What To Do)
Keep in mind that the moisture in the fridge accelerates the decomposition of winter squash.
Avoid storing a full spaghetti squash in the refrigerator unless it is firmly covered to prevent moisture from getting to it. It will last 2-5 days in the fridge if you cut up a raw squash and securely wrap the remaining pieces to keep the moisture out.
After harvesting and cutting, you can keep the seeds for the following year. Thus, you’ll get more squash to harvest at no extra cost of seeds.