I recently harvested several perfectly ripe gorgeous butternut squash. We had a lot of fun sharing the abundance with neighbors, and are loving the tasty fall recipes. Stuffed butternut squash, butternut squash chili, and butternut squash rice with herbs are a few of our favorites.
However, if you’re a first time butternut squash grower, you might be wondering “When is the best time to harvest?” Nothing more frustrating than harvesting it too soon and it’s not ripe. Or maybe you have waited too long to harvest yours, and it splits. No worries, with a few simple tips, you’ll be harvesting your butternut squash like a pro and soon will be making all kinds of delicious meals with this flavorful winter squash.
Butternut squash is a winter squash and grows best when planted in the spring. It loves the warm weather of summer and takes 3-4 months to grow to maturity, unlike it’s tender skinned summer squash cousin. Being a winter squash doesn’t mean it’s grown in the winter, but rather harvested in the fall as winter approaches. Follow the following 3 tips to make sure your butternut squash is perfectly ripe and lasts all winter long.
3 Harvest Tips
Tip #1 – color of the skin
A ripe butternut squash should be a deep tan color, with minimal green striping near the stem. If your butternut squash is green, with dark green striping, it’s not ripe. Wait a few weeks, and when you notice the skin change color, it’s time to check the other harvest tips.
Tip #2 – brown, shriveled stem
Another sign that your butternut squash is ready to harvest is when the stem is brown, tough, and shriveled. If the stem is green, soft and not shriveled at all, it’s not ready.
Tip #3 – tough skin
Check to see if you can pierce the skin of your butternut squash easily with fingernail. If you can push your nail right through the skin, it is not ready to harvest. It is ripe when it’s difficult to pierce the skin with your fingernail. Harvested at the right time, when the skin is tough, helps it last all winter long.
The time is right – harvest!
Follow these three tips and you are ready to harvest! Using a sharp pair of pruners, cut the stem off the vine about an inch above the butternut squash. Stored on a counter top, ripe butternut squash will keep well for about 6 months, longer if it is stored in a cool, dry place, such as a basement or root cellar.
Watch the video from my YouTube channel, “How to Harvest Butternut Squash” so you can see exactly how to harvest yours. While you visiting my channel, subscribe and hit the bell icon so you get notifications when I post new garden how-to videos. More garden to table recipe videos coming soon!
Comment below, let me know if you’re growing a butternut squash and how you like to eat it!