How often have you bought a Butternut Squash and blissfully forgotten its existence in your kitchen cabinet? More than 50% of homemakers agree to be in this distressing situation where you find the vegetable all leaky and mushy when you take it out for cooking.
So how can you make sure that this kind of pumpkin is fresh and safe after days of harvest or purchase? Find answers to all your queries regarding storing this vegetable for safe and long-term use from this article on how to Tell If Butternut Squash is bad Like A Pro?
Essentials to Check If Your Butternut Squash Is Starting to Rot
Telling if the vegetable is fit for eating or not might seem simple and straight forward. All that you would need for this is the vegetable, yes, of course, your hands and a good knife.
Understanding the shelf life of Butternut Squash
Even before we proceed on discussing tips on how to know if the vegetable has turned bad, it is worthwhile to know how long this winter vegetable can be stored before it becomes non-edible.
There is no definite shelf life or eat by date, so it is a bit tricky to decide if you can use it or not unless you check it out physically.
Fresh Butternut Squash will ideally last for a month if stored outside in your kitchen cabinets under fresh and hygienic conditions. Similar to other veggies, you can increase the shelf life by storing it in a refrigerator, which is discussed in detail below.
Storing Properly Can Aid A Longer Shelf Life
This holds good for most food items, be it perishable or non-perishable. However, special care must be taken when it comes to vegetables, as they can form mold or get mushy and leaky under non-hygienic and damp conditions.
- So, the first rule when it comes to storage is to choose a cool and dry place for storing this vegetable. It stays fresh on the counters at a temperature range of 50 to 60 degrees F. However; it is hard to find such temperatures in storage or cellar areas at home. In stores, they are usually kept in pantries than have slightly lower temperatures than the room temperatures.
- Remove the plastic wraps or any other packaging. Avoid keeping it near the fruits that are kept for ripening. The gas released in the process can shorten the shelf life of this vegetable.
- Refrigerating- Cut the vegetable and scoop out the mushy middle part and the seeds. Then you can chop it and store the cut pieces in an airtight container. You can also store it in a resealable plastic bag or aluminum foils.
- A quick word of advice from an ardent lover of fresh vegetables is that refrigerating will improve the shelf life. However, it takes away the natural taste and texture of this veggie.
- Freezing the vegetable for storage – Harvest of this vegetable happens in winter. So, if you want to enjoy the vegetable during the summer, you can consider freezing it. Cook it nicely and mash before you freeze it so that you can use it for a more extended period. Airtight containers are recommended for storage, and contents will stay fresh for about 3 months. Watch the video to know how is it done.
- Cooked squash can be used for a day or two if stored at an ideal temperature in the kitchen.
How to Tell If Butternut Squash is Bad?
The hard skin provides for a longer shelf life naturally. So, checking if the Butternut is edible or not starts by examining the rind.
- Check the rind – Make sure that it is firm and has even coloring throughout. Look for any mushy spots on the skin. If there are only a few soft spots, then cut out and discard only those portions. Mushy spots are a sign for you to not postpone its consumption any further.
- Tap on the hard skin to check for hollowness. If it appears empty, then its time you discard the entire vegetable if you do not want to deal with a leaky, squishy vegetable. If from the outside the vegetable looks all fine, you can cut into the veggies and check the inside for any soft spots or unusual texture before using it for your recipes.
- Sometimes the middle portion with the seeds might look a bit slimy or gross, but that is usual in case of all these hard-skinned vegetables. So do not discard the whole vegetable if the sliminess is limited only to the middle portion. You can safely use the other parts if they appear to be of usual texture.
- Cut pieces of this vegetable can be safely used only for a week when stored in the refrigerator unless you are fond of cleaning your stomach in the most natural and unpleasant way (diarrhea).
- Cooked frozen squash should also be used with caution and look out for any mold before using it.
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- When To Pick Butternut Squash? This Is Sure, Get Ready!
The earlier you eat the veggie after its harvest, the healthier it is. However, the tips mentioned above will help you preserve the vegetable for a longer duration and also aid in safe eating.
To reiterate the key takeaway, checking the rind is the best way to say if the winter squash is all good for consumption. Also, keeping the veggies away from the refrigerator will give you access to unaltered taste and nutrition.
These tips are from a homemaker’s own experience and research. Should you know of any other signs of the veggie being unfit for use, do share it with us. You can also drop in your questions in the comments section and share your stories on cooking this winter vegetable.