Among the many types of squashes, my favorite is, without a doubt, the spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash has its origins in China and it can easily be defined as one of the most original types of squash.
The peculiarity of this variety lays in the unique way in which the flesh of the squash transforms into spaghetti-like filaments when cooked, hence its name.
Spaghetti squash is not only delicious and good-looking, but it is also highly nutrient and the texture of the spaghetti makes it a favorite of the children.
With so many qualities, there is no wonder why more and more gardeners consider growing spaghetti squash. But one of the main questions that arise at the moment of harvesting is: how to tell when spaghetti squash is ripe?
We’re going to answer this question, but first, let’s learn more about spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti Squash: Seeding And Harvesting Season
Like many other types of squash, spaghetti squash is a cold-season vegetable, meaning that it will reach its maturity in winter.
Needing a long growing season and a lot of sunshine and warmth, spaghetti squash should be seeded as soon as possible after the end of the winter. However, since this variety of squash can be successfully grown in pots too, you can start your crop by planting the seeds in pots and keep them indoors until the weather is warm enough.
If you start your crop indoors, the right time to transfer the squashes outside is after about two weeks from the last frost. You should know that spaghetti squash can also be grown in containers. You will need a 5-gallon container for each plant.
As stated above, spaghetti squash will probably be ripe in winter. However, depending on the climate conditions, the squash can reach its maturation anytime from late August to December. For this reason, it is essential to understand when is the right time to harvest.
How To Tell When Spaghetti Squash Is Ripe
Spaghetti squash, as all the winter squash varieties, must be completely mature when harvesting since it will not develop after it was picked. On the other hand, an over-ripe spaghetti squash is inedible.
There are a few methods to tell when spaghetti squash is ripe. You can use either of them or a combination to check if your delicious squash reached its maturity.
1. Check the color
Spaghetti squash should have a bright yellow skin when ripe, therefore if your squash has a green-yellow shade it must still grow. If the skin is yellow-orange you waited too much and you will probably not be able to preserve the squash in good conditions.
A mature squash also tends to have the skin rather dull, so if your spaghetti squash is glossy, you might want to wait a little longer before harvesting.
2. Fingernail method
If the color looks right but you’re not sure if the squash is ripe, try to push your fingernail into the skin. A mature fruit should have a tough skin and you should not be able to puncture it. If you do, the squash needs more time.
3. Check the integrity of the skin
A ripe spaghetti squash should not present any black indentations or bruising on its surface. These signs indicate an over-ripe or a damaged squash.
4. Push your finger on the skin
This method will help you determine if your squash is ripe or over-ripe. In the first case, the skin of the squash should be firm. If you feel that your finger goes into the squash, then it is probably over-ripe.
To make sure that you will harvest your crop at the right time, you should check if the squash is ripe immediately after you notice that the skin turned yellow. This will allow you to harvest your crops at the right time and enjoy the delicious spaghetti this type of squash offers.
How To Store Harvested Spaghetti Squash
If you intend to preserve your squashes for a few months, you should harvest in a dry and sunny day. Place the squashes in boxes in a single layer and store the boxes in the basement, in a cellar or in a dark, cool and dry room immediately.
Spaghetti squash harvested for immediate consumption can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Now, you should be able to identify when spaghetti squash is ripe. However, if you have any questions or concerns, leave us a comment below.
Don’t forget that the best thing to do is to check the crop daily to see when the squashes are ready to be harvested.