Mary's Veggie Garden

February 24, 2014

Extreme Squash Storage

Filed under: Squash,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 9:32 am

How long can a squash be stored? And will it still be edible after all that time?

I store my squashes on shelves in the basement for later eating. Thus, when harvest started last autumn, I had to clean up the shelves and deal with the stuff that collects in all flat spots. This stuff included two squashes from previous harvests.

A two year old butternnut and a one year old Tetsukabuto squash.

A two year old butternut and a one year old Tetsukabuto squash. Photographed 9/2013.

The butternut squash was grown and harvested in 2011. That year I grew two butternut varieties, Early and Waltham. This one was probably an Early Butternut. After storing it weighed 1 pound 6.8 ounces and felt very light weight for its size.

The Tetsukabuto squash was grown and harvested in 2012. It weighed 3 pounds 5.1 oz. At harvest time the squash is solid green except for an orange patch where it rests on the ground. While in storage Tetsukabutos gradually turn orange. Most of the color change happens in the first six months.

Two Tetsukabuto squashes, left 1 year old, right freshly harvested.

Two Tetsukabuto squashes, left 1-year-old, right freshly harvested.

From the outside these two squashes look pretty good. The butternut feels light but the weight of the Tetsukabuto feels normal for its size. What do they look like inside?

A two year old butternut and 1 year old Tetsukabuto.

A 1-year-old Tetsukabuto and a two-year old butternut.

The butternut is dried up. Not edible, except maybe the seeds which I put outside for the wildlife. The expected storage life for a butternut is 4-6 months. I stored this one 24 months, so the results are not surprising.

The Tetsukabuto looks more promising. The seed cavity is dried up but the flesh is still moist. So I cooked it. The taste was flat, with none of the normal sweetness. I don’t know if there was still any nutritional value, but I used it in a squash bread.


  1. I’ve had butternut still be quite good after 8 months. I’ve never tried farther than that. Usually around May or June (at around 6-7 months) if they are still around I’ll cook and freeze them. I do that because my basement warms up too much in the summer and storage conditions aren’t all that good. I do this for the sweet potatoes too. Though usually there aren’t many of either left by then.

    Comment by daphnegould — February 24, 2014 @ 9:39 am | Reply

    • My goal is to use everything before the next harvest. It’s a fine line – too much vs. not enough. I stop using stored crops when the pea and lettuce harvest starts.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — February 24, 2014 @ 11:09 am | Reply

  2. Thanks for sharing your results. Guess I know why some of my store-bought squashes have been dried up inside – been stored too long…… I have a tasty butternut squash/carrot/kale/etc. soup recipe that we enjoy – I’ll email you a copy if you’d like another way to use up your butternut squashes.

    Comment by Ginny — February 24, 2014 @ 9:52 am | Reply

  3. Wow 24 months, I don’t have a spot cool enough to get things like that to last longer than 3 or 4 months so that’s pretty impressive!

    Comment by Stoney Acres — February 24, 2014 @ 9:54 am | Reply

    • My basement will get up to about 78F in the summer, much higher than the ideal of 55. Plus we run a dehumidifier all summer to keep humidity at 50% which probably causes some of the drying in those squashes.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — February 24, 2014 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  4. That is really interesting to see. It’s amazing that the outside looks so perfect.

    Comment by Michelle — February 24, 2014 @ 11:23 am | Reply

  5. Wow, 24 months! I cannot store any produce more than 3 months, we don’t have proper storage conditions here.

    Comment by mac — February 25, 2014 @ 2:32 am | Reply

    • Eight months is easy here, but beyond that I don’t have the right conditions either.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — February 25, 2014 @ 7:45 am | Reply

  6. Most squashes only store a couple moths at most here (Florida) due to our humidity. It’s neat to see that the integrity of the shell held up even when the insides had dried!

    Comment by Barbie — February 25, 2014 @ 9:02 am | Reply

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