More Tips on Timing
Different types and varieties of winter squash vary as to how long they take to cure after harvesting, how long before they achieve peak eating quality, and how long before that quality declines.
Whether you grow winter squash for your own consumption or to sell at markets, at the farmstand, or to place in your CSA boxes, you will want to know when your squash and edible pumpkins are at their best.
The chart below is designed to serve as a general guide to the storage potential of different types of winter squash.
|Click for KEY||MONTHS AFTER MATURITY/HARVEST|
|TYPE||1 Mo||2 Mo||3 Mo||4 Mo||5 Mo||6 Mo|
|Gray & Green KABOCHA:
|Longest-storing KABOCHA: 'Winter Sweet'||1.5|
|KEY||Curing Period||Optimal Eating Period|
Many winter squash fruits appear to be mature before they are actually ready to harvest, and some require time in storage after harvest for best eating quality. For the best-quality squash, wait to harvest all types until they are mature — at least 50–55 days after the fruit has set — and cure before storing and eating.
As noted above, a good rule of thumb is to consume small-fruited types first, but read on for additional type-specific tips.
The fruits of these types will have a dark-orange "ground spot" when mature. Fruits can be consumed at harvest, and eating quality is best within 2–3 months of harvest.
Spaghetti squash, too, can be consumed right away after harvest, and will store about 3 months.
Varieties such as 'Sunshine' and 'Red Kuri' and Shokichi types can be consumed at harvest, and will store 2–3 months, 4 max. Dry, corky stems are a good indication of fruit maturity.
Fruits are best after 1–1½ months of storage, but will also store 4–6 months. Dry, corky stems area good indication of fruit maturity.
Fruits are best after 1–2 months of storage, and will keep 4–6 months. (Because of its smaller size, 'Butterscotch PMR' is an exception; it can be consumed at harvest, and is best within 3 months of harvest.)