Winter squash

When do you pick butternut and acorn squash, and how are they best stored?
Thanks,
Dave
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Hi Dave. I pick mine just before the first frost. The longer they lay in the sun, the drier they get inside. The drier they are, the longer they will store.
When you do pick them, leave 2 to 4 inches of stem on each one. If the stem breaks off flush with the squash, eat it sooner. After you cut the stems, take the squash somewhere that they can lay in the sun undisturbed for another 10 days before taking them inside.
I put mine in the coolest room in the house. The thermomiter rarely gets over 64 degrees F or 19 degrees C. The butternut have lasted from October 2002 until Dec 2003 in that room and were still good when eaten. Other winter squash lasted another 6 months longer. The acorn were eaten too soon to determine how long they would last.
I give most of my squash away, so I have to grow something that will last.
Dwayne
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Dave said:

When the stems are very hard (they will be harder than twigs of the same diameter) and the rinds are too tough to pierce with a fingernail. Ideally, let them stay on the vine as long as possible without risking frost. Every additional day adds flavor and sweetness.

Acorn squash will decline fairly quickly for a winter squash during storage, getting more and more stringy. They do not need curing as storage should be fairly short-term -- eat them first.
Harvested squash should be set out in a warm, sunny area to cure before bringing in for cleaning and storage.
Use squash with obvious insect damage or snapped off stems first. Cooked squash can be mashed and frozen. (I use a food mill to process mine into a uniform puree and freeze it in zipper bags.)
Harvested squash should be washed in a weak solution of bleach and dried. I rub the butternuts with a bit of oil to help keep them from drying out in storage. Store them in single layers with no fruit touching. Ideal storage conditions would be 55 def F and moderate humidity. But even under less than ideal conditions (70 deg and bone dry), butternuts harvested in October will last to February and beyond. That means I can so put off the work of making and freezing pureed squash until the mid-winter lull.
We are big fans of 'pumpkin' waffles and 'pumpkin' pies (made with pureed butternut and buttercup squash). The squash I put up is much thicker than the frozen squash you can buy and much, much tastier than canned pumpkin.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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