QUESTION: When do you harvest acorn squash? I was going to plant some this year, but I haven’t grown them before and I don’t know how to determine when they’re ready to harvest. – Alicia E
GARDENING CHANNEL REPLIES: There are a few different signs you should look for when deciding whether an acorn squash is ready for harvest.
- Harvest acorn squash when they are dark green and hard
- The pale yellow spot on the side near the ground will start to turn orange
- Stem is often brown and brittle
- They’re usually ready around 80-100 days after planting — check your seed packet or plant tag for specifics for the variety you are growing
- Pick them before first frost in fall
- When you harvest, cut with stem attached
The first thing to look at is the color of the skin. If the color is faded and the yellow spot on the squash has turned an orange color, it’s probably ready for harvest.
The next thing to consider is the texture of the skin. If the skin feels firm, the squash is most likely ready to harvest.
Lastly, look at the stem. When it turns brown and is dried out, the acorn squash is ready to be picked. In general, acorn squash takes between 80 and 100 days to reach harvest.
By checking the color of the skin, the texture of the skin, the color of the stem, and by counting how many days the squash has been growing, you should be able to pick an acorn squash when it’s ready.
Once the squash is picked, it’s important to store it correctly or you could waste your growing efforts and the effort it takes to ensure you pick the harvest at the appropriate time.
If you’re planning on eating the acorn squash right away, you don’t need special storage instructions aside from keeping the squash at room temperature.
Unlike summer squash, the acorn squash doesn’t do well when stored in the refrigerator for later use.
However, if you’re planning to store an acorn squash for a longer period, be sure you do so correctly.
Leave the acorn squash on the vine a little longer for storage, but be mindful that you don’t expose it to frost.
When you’re ready to harvest the squash, leave approximately three inches of the stem on the fruit. This helps keep it moist after being picked.
From there, store the squash in a cool, dark, dry location. A root cellar, dark corner of a basement, a dark cabinet, or even a closet may do the trick. Make sure the temperature is around 50-degrees Fahrenheit.
In the right conditions, the squash should last up to three months. Also, be mindful not to stack your acorn squash.
Instead, line them up in a row where the skin doesn’t touch. If you stack them, the contact will cause the skin to break down and lead to rot.
This will spread throughout your entire harvest if left unchecked. You may also cook your harvest right after picking and freeze it for later use.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of when to pick acorn squash. When you harvest the squash, depends greatly upon what your plans are for it after picking.
You should also have a good idea of how to store acorn squash. Use these tips to enjoy your homegrown harvest.
Learn More About Growing Acorn Squash
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