When is squash ready to pick?

I have been growing Musquee De Provence Squash this year here in a Chicago suburb. It really put out a lot of runners and took over most of my raised bed. Although I may not get much of crop from the many blossoms appearing this late in the year, I have two squashes of reasonable size. One got to the size of a basketball, and the other is still enlarging. It has remained in what I guess is it's maximum size for several weeks, and is not changing color like the acorn squashes I see in the supermarkets, with yellow streaking. Question is how to know when to pick these things? Do they have to do some ripening on the vine for maximum flavor? So far, they are not being attacked by anything, so I don't mind leaving them on the vine.
Sherwin D.
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sherwindu said:

Yes, they have to do as much ripening on the vine as the season allows for best flavor. Don't harvest until the vines are completely dead. If light frost threatens, you can cover the squashes with an old towel or with newspapers, but definitely pull them if a hard frost or freeze threatens.
This variety looks to be in the butternut family (based on the stem as seen in the photos on the websites I checked). It should do some color-changing to a deep orange-tan, though perhaps will remain streaked with green. The stem will become extremely hard, like the hardest of woods, and the rinds will become too tough to pierce with a fingernail. This variety might show a frosty 'bloom' on the rind as it matures (based on similar varieties that I've grown).
When you harvest them, you should (ideally) let them cure in a warm, sunny location. If you plant to store the squash for any length of time, wash them in a dilute bleach solution and dry them carefully. Set them in the coolest area of your house (but not somewhere that might get below 50 degrees). Leave air space around each squash. Properly ripe butternut squashes should store for several months like this. The only danger is a little shrinking from moisture loss.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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Additionally, cut them off the vine leaving 1 to 3 inches of vine on the squash (some leave more). If it breaks off at the squash, eat that one first.
Dwayne

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