Winter squash includes squash varieties, such as acorn, butternut, turban and buttercup. Winter squash should be harvested before the first frost and should have thick rinds. They will store longer if a couple inches of stem is left on when harvesting. In addition, winter squash that are already bruised or have severe cuts will not store as long as those in near perfect condition when harvested or purchased.
Cure winter squash, except for acorn squash, in warm temperatures for 3 to 10 days. Temperatures that are between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit with relative humidity of 80 to 85 percent are ideal. Curing will heal any cuts or abrasions caused during harvesting.
Move winter squash into cooler temperatures in an area with good circulation. Temperatures near 50 degrees Fahrenheit with relative humidity of 70 to 80 percent will yield a longer storage life. Your garage, crawl space or attic may work well.
Place a layer of straw on the ground or store on shelves. Do not stack winter squash and don’t store directly on the ground where humidity tends to be higher.
Check on your winter squash often. Once they begin to soften, they should be used immediately. Depending on which kind you have, expect acorn squash to stay fresh for 5 to 8 weeks, butternut squash to stay fresh for 2 to 4 months, and turban and buttercup squash to stay fresh for 3 to 6 months.
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