Buttercup squash (Cucurbita maxima ‘Buttercup’) is a very nutritious and tasty type of winter squash. Buttercup squash is harvested in autumn and takes approximately 100 days to ripen, but in this article, we will explain how and when to harvest buttercup squash.
It is important to observe the buttercup squash before harvesting because squash stop ripening when removed from the vine. The good thing is that you will easily observe when it is time to harvest the buttercup squash.
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When to Harvest Buttercup Squash
When to Harvest Buttercup Squash? Approximately 100 days after planting, the buttercup squash will be ready to be harvested. Likewise, the number of days to harvest the buttercup squash can vary depending on the amount of sun, water, and nutrients the plant received during its development of the buttercup squash.
The best way to know when to harvest buttercup squash is to observe the color and firmness of the squash skin. The color should be deep green and the skin of the buttercup squash should be hard to the touch.
It is important to harvest the buttercup squash at the right time because once removed from the vine it will not continue to ripen like other fruits or vegetables that can ripen once harvested.
A good way to check if the skin of the buttercup squash is hard is to press with a fingernail, if there is a mark on the skin it is that the squash is not yet ripe to be harvested. If there is no mark left on the skin of the buttercup squash, it means that it is ready to be harvested.
Be sure to harvest buttercup squash before frost begins in your area, or your crop will be completely damaged. With these tips, you will be able to harvest the buttercup squash at the best time to enjoy it to the fullest.
How to Harvest Buttercup Squash
How to Harvest Buttercup Squash? Once you observe that the skin and color of the buttercup squash are correct for harvesting, you will prepare everything for harvesting. Use a sharp, disinfected knife to harvest the buttercup squash. It is important that the knife is sharp to make a perfect cut in the stem of the buttercup squash.
I recommend leaving 1″ (2.5 cm) of the stem to protect the buttercup squash, if the stem is too short an insect could enter the squash through the stem. Be sure to harvest all buttercup squash before frost arrives because you could lose the entire crop. It is important to handle the buttercup squash carefully so that it is not damaged or bruised, damage to the squash will decrease the amount of storage time the buttercup squash.
How to Store Buttercup Squash
How to Store Buttercup Squash? Before storing the buttercup squash, it should be cured outdoors or in a cool, dry place. For an optimum curing process, the temperature and duration of the curing process should be: temperatures between 68 to 77 °F (20-25ºC) for 2 to 4 weeks or 77 to 86 °F (25-30ºC) for 3 weeks.
Buttercup squashes are traditionally stored in non-temperature-controlled and well-ventilated environments, sheltered from the cold. Relative humidity should be kept below 70 % to avoid the development of rot.
In general, the conditions of conservation that allow maintaining the quality during the maximum of time are temperatures between 42 and 53 °F (6 and 12 °C) and relative humidity between 50 – 70 %.
In the event of fruit being damaged by rot, they should be discarded quickly to prevent them from contaminating and damaging healthy ones. You can store the buttercup squash in this way for up to 6 months, but it is also possible to store the squash in the refrigerator or freezer. The University of Minnesota describes different methods of preservation for winter squash.
The time to pick the buttercup squash will vary according to the sun, water, and nutrients that the squash plant received, so one should observe the skin and color of the squash. Once you observe that the skin of the buttercup squash is firm to the touch and its color is dark green, proceed to pick the buttercup squash.
We hope that this article on when to harvest buttercup squash will be of great help and that you will have an excellent harvest. We recommend our other article about how and when to pick butternut squash.