Gardeners growing squash often grow several different varieties in a home garden. Summer squash are the tender varieties that a gardener must harvest before the squash grow too large. These varieties do not keep for long and should not be stored for an extended period. Winter squash are the squash varieties with a hard outer skin that will keep for extended periods when stored in the proper environment.
Storing Summer Squash
Harvest the summer squash when the vegetables are between 6 and 8 inches long. Use the utility knife to cut the squash from the vines.
Place the unwashed summer squash into the plastic storage bags.
Keep the squash in the storage bags in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator for up to three days. Wash the summer squash immediately before preparing.
Storing Winter Squash
Harvest winter squash when the outer rinds are hard when you scratch with a fingernail. Cut the stems from the vines and leave 2-inch stems on the winter squash for best results. Harvest the winter squash before the temperatures fall below 50 degrees.
Cure winter squash by keeping the squash at temperatures between 80 and 85 degrees for several days after harvesting. A greenhouse is the ideal curing environment for winter squash.
Place a thick layer of newspaper onto shelving in a basement or attic with temperatures at approximately 50 degrees. Place a layer of straw over the newspaper. Store the winter squash on the straw in a single layer.
Check the winter squash every week and remove any squash that are decaying. Use the winter squash within three to six months for best results.