Last Updated on January 17, 2023 by Griselda M.
Delicious when ripe and cooked, spaghetti squash with its origins in China is a warm yummy delight for taste. Its flesh takes the shape of strands of spaghetti when cooked, and that’s where it earned the name – Spaghetti squash – even though it can still be called vegetable squash. It is a highly nutritious fruit and a winter squash just like its counterparts; pumpkin squash and acorn squash. One thing common with them is that they are best eaten and useful to their growers when they are ripe. However, knowing the signs of bad spaghetti squash inside is essential especially if you’re looking forward to consuming them.
It is also important to know how to tell if spaghetti squash is ripe before harvesting. But, do you know when to harvest spaghetti squash? The reason for this is that if you harvest them when they are yet to ripen fully, they rot more easily and become utterly useless. Additionally, if you harvest them late, they become too ripened and inedible. Ideally, it’s best to let the spaghetti squash ripen while still attached to its vine, but if the circumstances say otherwise like when the frost of winter arrives too early, you can still harvest it off the vine and let it ripen in perfect storage conditions.
If you want to enjoy the richness in taste of this unique fruit, then you need to harvest it the right way. In this article, we give you essential tips on some of the ways you can determine if they are ready to be plucked out of their vines and the telltale signs of bad spaghetti squash.
Can Spaghetti Squash Go Bad?
If you are wondering, if can spaghetti squash goes bad, then the answer is yes, it can! However, this does not just happen overnight. Like all perishables, spaghetti squash also has a lifespan or use-by date. For instance, if the fruit is whole and kept at room temperature, you can expect it to last up to a month. But, this will also depend on the climate in your region as it tends to rot faster in warmer temperatures.
If you live in a cold area, then you can keep them a little longer before they start rotting. Cut-up spaghetti squash should be used within a week or so, otherwise, it will go bad. Refrigerating your spaghetti squash is also advised to extend its lifespan. Just remember that a forgotten squash will result in a soft leaky damaged fruit, so, make sure that you make use of it before it expires.
How to Know If Spaghetti Squash Is Bad?
How to know if spaghetti squash is bad? Telltale signs of bad spaghetti squash inside include overly soft fruit, black, brown, or yellow spotting on the exterior and one that is leaky. At this stage, it is best to throw the spaghetti squash out as it will be inedible. Do take into consideration that if the squash has just started to spot, you can still make use of it by cutting out the dark spots.
However, this should be done immediately because the rot will eventually flaw the whole squash. Additionally, squash has a potent order when it has gone bad which makes it easy to tell whether you should use it or bin it. Keep in mind that a fresh edible squash should have a dull yellowish-beige color and be firm to the touch. As mentioned above, signs of bad spaghetti squash inside include discolored bruises and spots that indicate rot or the start of it.
How to Know When Spaghetti Squash Is Ripe?
Many gardeners wonder, how to know when spaghetti squash is ripe. To see when the fruit is ready to be harvested, there are a few things that you should look for. The most evident sign of a ripened spaghetti squash can be seen in its coloring. A golden-yellowish color is an excellent indication that your fruit is ready to be harvested. Additionally, the spaghetti squash should have hard and thick skin at this stage which is impenetrable and the stem should be dry but firm.
Most people attempt to poke the squash with their fingernails to check if the skin is tough enough. If it is, then they know that it is ready to be picked and cooked. Monitoring the color from the get-go is important as spaghetti squash starts as a light green fruit. Look out for the signs mentioned above to ensure that you have timed your harvest correctly.
Can Spaghetti Squash Be Green?
A lot of people want to know if can spaghetti squash is green when harvesting. Now, we all know that the fruit starts with a light green coloring and changes to a rich yellowish coloring when fully ripened. However, what about the ones that stay green as they increase in size while still attached to the vine? According to many home gardeners, spaghetti squash can stay green throughout its growth, with slight yellowing spots here and there. Therefore you should check for signs of bad spaghetti squash inside.
This is because a soft green squash is an indication of rot. But, if the spaghetti squash does not have a golden ripe color but has reached full size, it is advisable to harvest and make use of it. It is also essential to know how to ripen green spaghetti squash when it is taken off its vine. However, make sure that you are not negligent when attempting to ripen it because it can go bad pretty quickly.
Can Spaghetti Squash Ripen off the Vine?
If you want to know, if can spaghetti squash ripens off the vine then the answer is yes, it can! Exposing the harvested green fruit to bright sunlight or leaving it out at room temperature should be ideal to ripen it and get it ready for use. But, did you know that you can also use the green ones as summer squash? The unripened squash can be harvested and cooked just as they are.
So, if you have picked them while they are still green, you shouldn’t fret as you can opt to use them or ripen them off the vine. Do not make the mistake to keep them in a dark place if you want to ripen them. As mentioned above, spaghetti squash matures in bright light so keeping them on a well-lit windowsill or the porch will be ideal in this instance. If you do this, you can expect to enjoy ripe spaghetti squash in a matter of days. Make sure to watch out for signs of bad spaghetti squash inside when ripening them off the vine.
Does Spaghetti Squash Smell like Pumpkin?
Have you ever wondered, does spaghetti squash smell like pumpkin? Although they belong to the squash family and have similarities, the smell of spaghetti squash is a bit milder than pumpkin if you really have to compare the two. However, if the fruits have a strong stench, then that could be a sign of bad spaghetti squash inside. Therefore, it is important to recognize the different smells to tell whether they are still good for consumption. Just like pumpkin, spaghetti squash is slightly sweet when fully ripened.
It is largely consumed because of its stringy texture that mimics spaghetti and its neutral flavoring that can be incorporated into any dish. Pumpkin, acorn, and butternut squash have a much more intense flavor and smell compared to butternut squash. In general, squash comes in different scents depending on the variety. While some have a citrusy smell, others have sweet scents. Ultimately, spaghetti squash with others has various tastes to enhance your meals.
How Long Can a Spaghetti Squash Last?
So, you’re a squash lover and want to know how long can a spaghetti squash last. The lifespan of your spaghetti squash will depend on a few factors. These include when they were harvested, whether they were picked when fully ripened or green, and the climate in your region. Seeing that sunlight is an ideal source to ripen spaghetti squash, it can also be a disadvantage once the fruit is fully mature. This is because bright light with continue to hasten their ripening which may lead to overripe or rotted squash.
For this reason, it is essential to look out for signs of bad spaghetti squash inside. So, depending on these factors, spaghetti squash can last anywhere between two to four weeks. If you find that your squash is developing blemishes, ensure that you make use of it before they progress and completely ruin the fruit. Additionally, you can also freeze spaghetti squash and cook them from frozen when you want to add them to your meals.
Freezing squash is a great idea especially if your harvest is abundant. This will reduce wastage as they won’t have a chance to rot. You can expect to keep them for more than six months if you opt to freeze them. Ensure that you cut them up into cubes or slices and store them in freezer bags when doing this. If you want to store your spaghetti squash whole, then keeping them in an area that has temperatures of about 60 F would afford them a two-month lifespan.
When to Harvest Spaghetti Squash
Watch for Color Change
One of the foremost pointers to tell if a fruit has attained its maturity stage and is ripe for harvest is to observe the color change of the fruit. The same goes here for spaghetti squash. Its skin changes to a bright yellow color when fully ripe. Any color contrary to this like a green-yellow coloration implies that it is yet to ripen and you need to allow it some space to fully come into its harvesting stage.
If the skin is however in the yellow-orange region in the colors your eyes can see, then the fruit must have been waiting for you for quite a while to come to do the harvesting but you delayed and if you don’t consume almost immediately, you won’t be able to preserve it for so long. Subsequently, it goes bad and it’s your loss. So monitor the color closely at all times.
Check the Texture of the Skin
Another way to find out or know if spaghetti squash is ripe for harvest is to press one of your fingers into the skin of the fruit or use a finger to pierce the skin.
If the skin is tough and your finger couldn’t penetrate, then it’s a mature fruit but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s fully ripe for harvest, it means you can harvest them under tough weather conditions and allow them to ripen under supervision away from their vines.
The only way you can draw your final conclusion is if the skin is bright-yellow and then the said skin is rigid. You can also use your fingernails to tell if the fruit is over-ripe. If you press one of your fingernails against the skin and it pierces deep inside the fruit going deeper, it means the fruit is overly ripe, indicating that you took your time in coming for harvest.
Check the Skin for Blemishes
If your spaghetti squash is ripe, there would be no scars on its skin or lines indicating fracture and puncture. If however, you happen to find bruises and scars on its skin, then it’s a pointer to the fact that it has gone past its maturity and ripening stage and is waiting to just die out. The fruit is over-ripe at this observation and not advisable for consumption.
Storing the Spaghetti Squash Rightly
If you’ll be letting the squash ripen off their vines and in your custody, then you need to imbibe some storage conditions that will enable the process to work better for you.
Harvest the fruit on a bright sunny day and place them in boxes that are in a single layer and store them in a cool dry room. But before that, you need to wipe the skin off with a solution of 10 percent household bleach and 90 percent water. This solution in the mix combats mildew and mold which are basic constituents of the skin.
Do not allow air to gain access to the storage medium and maintain ambient temperatures at all times. If you are also storing and waiting for it to ripen, you need ample sunlight for it. However, if they are ripe and you don’t intend to consume them pronto, you can refrigerate them for about two weeks because they can still retain their freshness under that condition.
The best way to check if your fruit is fully ripe is to monitor its color change, when you notice a bright yellow coloration on it, just know it is ripe for harvest, and harvesting under this green light will enable you to reap all of the benefits that the fruit comes along within its nutritional profile. Also when harvesting, use garden shears or pruners for harvesting.
This is to prevent you from harming the plant with injuries. You are cutting from the stem and if you are pulling it out directly from the vine, chances are that you might create injuries for the plant and dislodge them from its stems.
The spaghetti squash is one unique fruit in that its flesh transforms into shapes resembling strands of spaghetti. They are delicious and their maturity/ripened state determines what you get from them.
It is a cold-season fruit and attains its maturity in winter which is the ultimate precursor to its ripening stage. However, some pointers or indicators will tell if the fruit is ready for consumption or if it is rotting while attached to its vine or when taken off. The pointers mentioned in this article are all fail-proof and you can never go wrong with them.
Most importantly, observe the color change and feel the texture of the skin as they are important signs of bad spaghetti squash inside. In these two actions lies the bulk of the determining factors on how to tell if spaghetti squash is ripe for harvest and sweet consumption and if they have gone bad.
What happens if you pick spaghetti squash too early?
When picking spaghetti squash, make sure to wait until it has turned yellow and has completely dried. The fruit should be hard enough that it can hold its shape when cut.
Although you may think that spaghetti squash is all dried out, this fruit is actually still alive. If you pick it before the moisture in the center of the fruit dries up, it will spoil and become mushy.
If you pick a spaghetti squash before it has fully matured and the seeds have begun to soften, it will be difficult to remove the seeds without damaging the fruit.
The longer you leave it on your windowsill, the more likely it is that you will end up with soft and rotten spaghetti squash. So if you're planning on cooking or eating your spaghetti squash soon after picking it, make sure to let it sit for at least a few days before cooking or eating.
How long until spaghetti squash is ripe?
It takes about 5 days for spaghetti squash to ripen. There are two ways to tell if your spaghetti squash is ripe:
- look for the white, slightly translucent seeds where the stem and leaves meet on the inside of one half of the fruit, or
- press gently on one end of a mature fruit and see if it yields slightly under pressure from your finger.
Is spaghetti squash green before turning yellow?
Spaghetti Squash is naturally green and can turn yellow or orange in the refrigerator. It typically takes around 12 hours to turn brown and another 12 hours to turn back to its original color.
The spaghetti squash turns yellow when it's cooked because of the carotenoid pigment, lutein. This pigment, which comes from the chlorophyll in plants, is converted to an orange-red pigment once it's heated to higher temperatures.
How do you know when squash is ripe?
There are a few signs that help you know when squash is ripe. These include stem softness, stem color and the shape of the fruit.
There are several methods for determining if a squash is ripe. One common method to determine if a squash can break easily by squeezing it on both sides with your fingers and thumb. Another way to determine if a squash is ripe, according to Prevention Magazine, is by cutting off a small piece, letting it sit for about 30 seconds and examining the color inside.
How big should squash be before picking?
It is best to pick a squash that is as big as possible because it has more nutritional value.
Picking small squash is not recommended as it will not have a lot of nutrients. The more nutrients, the more calories and the more weight you will lose.
The size of the fruit or vegetable should be big enough to fit into your hand and make sure you can pick it without bending over.
Why does my spaghetti squash have green stripes?
With a spaghetti squash, it is easy to see why it has green stripes. The green colored flesh is the result of an enzyme that breaks down the chlorophyll in the cells. The enzyme is destroyed by heat and light, leaving behind the green color.
Tony Manhart is a passionate gardener who has been tending to gardens for over 20 years. He takes pride in creating beautiful outdoor spaces with plants, trees, and shrubs that can thrive in any environment. He loves to share his knowledge with others and has taught classes on gardening basics and advanced techniques. He is committed to sustainability, using natural and organic methods to create and maintain gardens. He also works with local organizations to create green spaces for communities. When he’s not gardening, Tony enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with his family.