Few compare to butternut squash when it comes to vegetables that offer the best nutritional value, taste, and color. These vegetables have become a staple food in many countries because they are easy to grow and provide significant health benefits.
As a result, many people have started growing butternut squash in their gardens. With so many people loving this wonderful vegetable, we can’t help but wonder whether butternut squash goes bad.
Does Butternut Squash Go Bad?
Unfortunately, butternut squash doesn’t have an infinite shelf life, and it can go bad. However, if you know how to store it correctly, you will be surprised by how long your butternut squash can last.
In fact, you will be able to store your butternut squash long-term so that it is ready to be used in pies and soups whenever you want. Having such a versatile and delicious vegetable on hand throughout the year is always excellent.
How Long Does Butternut Squash Last?
The shelf life of your butternut squash will significantly depend on whether it has been cut, and how it is stored. A whole butternut squash has an impressively longer shelf life than one that has been cut into cubes. Therefore, it is always recommended to refrain from cutting your butternut squash until needed.
A whole butternut squash can be kept in your pantry, and if your pantry isn’t too humid or hot, it will last well for up to a month. On the other hand, butternut squash that has been cut should be kept in the fridge, as it won’t last more than a day in the pantry.
A whole butternut squash can keep well in the refrigerator for up to three months. Cut butternut squash will last for about four days if kept in an airtight container. Likewise, cooked butternut squash can be kept in the fridge for up to four days.
Butternut squash freezes really well. So if you don’t plan on using your squash right away, you can consider freezing it. A whole butternut squash can be frozen for up to nine months, while cut squash freezes well for up to six months. Cooked butternut squash can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.
How Long Does Butternut Squash Last?
|In the pantry||In the fridge||In the freezer|
|A whole butternut squash||1 month||3 months||9 months|
|Cut butternut squash||1 day||4 days||6 months|
|Cooked butternut squash||2 hours||4 days||3 weeks|
4 Tips to Tell if Butternut Squash has Gone Bad
Although butternut squash can have an impressive shelf life, it does go rancid if it isn’t kept correctly or too much time has passed. In that case, the butternut squash will be very unpleasant, so it is excellent to know how to tell if butternut squash has gone bad.
Here are the four ways that you can tell if butternut squash has gone bad:
The butternut squash doesn’t look the same
Usually, the most apparent indication that butternut squash has gone bad is the fact that its appearance has changed. But, of course, the look of whole, cut, and cooked butternut squash will differ, and so will the changes to its appearance.
If you have a whole butternut squash and realize that the squash’s shape has changed dramatically, it might have gone bad. In addition, if you notice that mold or organic growth is growing on your butternut squash, it is best not to eat it.
If your butternut squash seems to be oozing or shows any signs of maggot infestations, it is best to add it to your compost heap instead of eating it. If you notice that your squash’s rind shows some mushy or rotten areas, it might be an indication that the entire squash has gone bad. In this case, you can cut in the vegetable to examine the rest of it.
If you have cut or cooked butternut squash and you notice that the color has changed significantly and is now quite dull, your squash has gone past its best. In addition, cooked butternut squash should never be hairy or fuzzy. In that case, avoid eating it.
The butternut squash smells sour or bad
Usually butternut squash doesn’t have a strong aroma. Instead, it has a very light, earthy smell. So if you notice that your squash has a sour or rotten smell, it isn’t suitable for consumption anymore.
The butternut squash feels soft, squishy, or sweaty
A whole butternut squash usually has a hard texture. Therefore, it isn’t a good sign if you feel that your butternut squash has become rather soft. In addition, vegetables should never give off water when you touch them, so if you feel that your butternut squash is losing moisture, it isn’t suitable for consumption anymore.
Cut butternut squash still keeps its firm texture while it is fresh. If you notice that your cut squash has become very soft, don’t eat it.
The butternut squash tastes strange
Butternut squash has a very pleasant taste that is slightly sweet and rich. If you are unsure whether your butternut squash is still fresh, you can remove a small part of it and try it. However, if your butternut squash has a stinky, funky, or unpleasant taste, don’t consume any more of it.
3 Tips to Store Butternut Squash
It is possible to get maximum results with your butternut squash if you store it correctly. Although keeping your squash properly might require some effort and time, it is worth it since the shelf life of your squash will increase dramatically. Here are three tips for storing your butternut squash correctly:
Keep your butternut squash in a cool and dry place
Once picked, like all vegetables, they don’t keep well in the sun. Therefore, it is best to keep your butternut squash away from heat elements and direct sunlight. Storing a whole butternut squash in your pantry in a cool, dry place is ideal.
However, if you have cooked or cut butternut squash, don’t store it in the pantry. Instead, it needs to be kept in the fridge or freezer.
Store your butternut in the fridge
If you want your butternut squash to last for a more extended period or your pantry is too warm or lit, you can store your butternut squash in the fridge. However, most people prefer to cut their butternut squash up before storing it in the fridge because it makes it possible to store it more practically.
If you plan to cut your butternut squash before putting it in the fridge, remember to store it in an airtight container or ziplock bag to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.
Keep your butternut squash in your freezer
Consider freezing it if you want to keep your butternut squash for future use. There are two ways that you can do it. First, you can either cut it into cubes and then freeze it. This makes it much easier to work with the butternut squash later on in cubes. A second option is cooking it first and making a puree.
Whether or not you’d like to puree your butternut squash will depend on what you plan to use it for in the future. However, it is a very convenient option because you can freeze it in an ice tray and remove small blocks at once for use while keeping the rest frozen.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Butternut Squash
Unfortunately, there are significant risks associated with consuming bad butternut squash. In fact, all vegetables that fall in the Cucurbits can make you sick if you consume them after they have expired.
The reason for this is a toxic compound within the squash that intensifies when the squash becomes overripe. Cucurbitacin E can lead to great discomfort, and symptoms of food poisoning will be experienced. In addition, it can lead to hair loss.
Can You Freeze Butternut Squash?
Fortunately, you can freeze butternut squash. In fact, the vegetable freezes remarkably well. Be sure to freeze it in an airtight container or a ziplock bag to minimize the risk of freezer burn. Since frozen butternut squash can be hard to work with, it is best to consider future uses for the butternut squash before deciding whether you’d like to cut it or puree it.
Once you have decided it is time to enjoy your frozen butternut squash, give it time to thaw, and then examine it carefully for any signs of contamination. Due to the nature of Cucurbits vegetables, it is best to avoid eating any butternut squash that appears to have become spoiled in the freezer.
Butternut squash can put a healthy twist on great dishes by being added to pasta, soups, and pies. It is a beautiful ingredient for everyone to have in their homes. Vegan, vegetarian, and meat-eaters alike all enjoy the versatility and deliciousness of this incredible vegetable.
However, it is vital to keep your butternut squash’s shelf life in mind and avoid eating it if it appears to have gone bad.