Delicious when ripe and cooked, spaghetti squash with origins from 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 from even though it can still be called vegetable squash. It is a highly nutritious fruit and a winter squash just like it’s counterparts; pumpkin squash and acorn squash. One thing common with them is that they are best eaten and useful to whoever owns them when they are ripe and that is why you need to know how to tell if spaghetti squash is ripe before harvesting. But, do you know when to harvest spaghetti squash?
If you harvest them when they are yet to ripen fully, they rot easily and become utterly useless. If you also harvest them late, they become too ripened and inedible. Ideally, its 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.
But the big question still lingers, so Here Are Four Ways to Tell If Your Spaghetti Squash is Ripe
If you want to enjoy the richness in the taste of this unique fruit, then you need to harvest it the right way and here are some of the ways you can determine if they are ready to be plucked out of their dear vines.
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 a 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 their 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, there are pointers or indicators that will tell if the fruit is ready for consumption. These pointers 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. 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.
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.