Butternut squash is a variety of winter squash prized for its sweetish, nutty taste like that of a pumpkin. This squash variety is often used in baking and cooking. Butternut squash is a common ingredient for soups and purees. You can roast, mash or sauté the squash for stews and casseroles.
Butternut squash is a seasonal product, it is only available during cooler months. Buying more of the product during peak season is a great way to ensure a steady supply. Does butternut go bad? Butternut squash has a long shelf life but it will go bad at some point. This goes especially if you did not store the squash properly.
Image used under Creative Commons from Simon Huntley
Ripe butternut squash has the tendency to go bad if left sitting at room temperature for days. That’s why it is important to check the squash for blemishes or soft spots as you shop.
It is also worth noting that butternut squash has no sell-by-date attached. This means, figuring out when it’s about to go bad requires keeping an eye on the squash during storage. Below is a guide on how to store butternut squash:
How to Store Butternut Squash?
There are many ways to store butternut squash. How you store it will depend on the state of the squash. Raw, whole butternut is best stored in the pantry. Refrigeration is a must for cut butternut squash. Cooked squash is best for freezing but do this only when necessary.
Storing Butternut Squash in the Pantry
Freshly harvested or store-bought whole butternut squash should be kept in a cool (not cold), dark place, away from direct sunlight. There is no extra prep before storing the squash in the pantry. Just remove the packaging, if there is any, and let the butternut sit on the counter or a shelf, never on the floor.
Storing Butternut Squash in the Refrigerator
Chilly temperature degrades the quality of the squash. As such, do not keep a whole butternut in the fridge. Refrigeration could also delay the ripening process of the squash so it won’t be as sweet once prepared. Use this method only when extending the shelf life of fully-ripened butternut squash.
Start by washing the butternut squash with tap water until clean. Cut the squash into desired pieces and pat dry with paper towel. Place the cut butternut squash in a heavy-duty container with an airtight lid.
Seal the container then write the storage date. Place the container in the crisper for best results. Never store the butternut squash near fruits that release ethylene gas. Doing so could shorten the shelf life of the squash.
Storing Butternut Squash in the Freezer
Freezing is best for extending the storage life of cooked butternut squash only. Just prepare the squash according to the recipe and place the cooked squash in a freezer-safe, heavy-duty container with a tight seal. Stick the squash in the freezer and you are done. Raw and whole butternut squash do not freeze well.
Image used under Creative Commons from Forest and Kim Starr
Shelf Life of Butternut Squash
Whole, fresh butternut squash should keep in the pantry for 1 to 3 months. Refrigerating the squash extends its shelf life to 10 to 12 months. Freezing cooked butternut squash will keep for 6 to 8 months. It will keep longer if the temperature is set at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Tell if Butternut Squash Has Gone Bad?
It’s quite easy to tell if butternut squash is about to go bad. Start by checking the rind, if you’re starting to see brown or mushy spots, the butternut squash is about to go bad. If it starts leaking liquid, discard it. If the butternut squash started developing grey-blue spots, it’s a sign that the squash has turned moldy. It is no longer safe to eat.
Storing butternut squash is easy as can be! But always keep the storage conditions in mind to maximize your supply. Does butternut squash go bad? Yes, especially when it is not stored properly! We hope that this guide has been helpful in extending the storage life of your favorite winter squash.