How to Know When Butternut Squash Is Ready to Cook


Butternut squash is a winter squash whose appearance resembles a long, narrow, light-skinned pumpkin. Originally from Mexico, the butternut squash has a nutty, sweet taste, similar to the flavor of pumpkin. One way to serve butternut squash is by grilling it, serving it with butter, and seasoning it with cinnamon and sugar. Butternut squash is used to make soup, pie filling, and as an ingredient to other recipes. It is a fruit containing protein, fiber, calcium, potassium, Vitamin A, beta-carotene and Vitamin C. Winter squash can be stored for several months in a dark, cool, dry location. Don't wash prior to storing.

Step 1

Examine the coloring of the butternut squash's rind. Avoid butternut squash with green markings on the rind, which is an indication of premature harvesting.

Step 2

Pick up the butternut squash and test the weight. It should feel heavy for its size, with a firm and hard rind.

Step 3

Inspect its color. An unripe butternut squash is light colored, while a ripe butternut squash has a darker, rich color. When ripe, the butternut squash is ready for cooking.


  • Pender County Extension: Butternut Squash
  • Purdue University: Harvest Winter Squash This Summer
  • Iowa State University: Food of the Week--Butternut Squash
  • University of Illinois Extension: Winter Squash
  • Clemson University Extension: Using and Storing Winter Squash
Keywords: butternut squash, cooking butternut squash, ripe butternut squash

About this Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University of Fullerton.

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