I love spaghetti squash mostly because it doubles as a pasta substitute with the added benefits of a few calories and plenty of folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta-carotene. I’ve had varying results when growing this winter squash, which I chalk up to weather conditions during the growing season. Sometimes, I have fruit that doesn’t seem to be quite ready to pick, yet Mother Nature has other plans. So, the question is, will spaghetti squash ripen off the vine? Read on to learn more.
Will Spaghetti Squash Ripen Off the Vine?
Well, the short answer is “yes” to the ripening of spaghetti squash off the vine. The longer answer involves a “maybe.” I’m not getting all wishy-washy on you. The fact is that the answer depends on spaghetti squash ripeness, or how mature the squash is. If the squash is green and soft, it is more likely to rot than ripen off the vine. If, however, there are hints of yellow and the squash appears to be full-sized and sounds solid when thumped, I would go ahead and try it. So, how to ripen green spaghetti squash then?
How to Ripen Green Spaghetti Squash
Generally, the time to pick spaghetti squash is in late September into October in some regions. The signs of spaghetti squash ripeness are skin that is yellow and hard. A test for hardness is to try and puncture the skin with your fingernail. If frost is imminent, however, and you have spaghetti squash that would be in danger, don’t despair; it’s time to take action! Harvest the unripe squash by cutting the fruit from the vine. Be sure to leave a couple of inches (5 cm.) of vine on the squash when you cut it. Wash and completely dry the squash. Then, just set them in a warm, sunny area to ripen with the green side up to the sunlight. Turn them every few days to allow the sun to ripen all the sides of the squash. Allow the fruit to ripen to a yellow hue and then eat it or store it in a cool, dry place. If summer is waning and you are getting nervous about the ripening of your spaghetti squash, you can try to speed things up in a couple of ways. You can trim any leaves that may be blocking the sun from the squash, or you can try root pruning. To root prune, go 3 to 4 inches (8-10 cm.) from the main stem and cut straight down 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.). Repeat the cut on the other side of the plant to form an “L” shape.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.
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