Squash is mainly fruit and has various shapes and sizes. Also, it has a variety of names such as winter squash, summer squash, delicata squash, hubbard squash, kabocha squash, butternut squash, etc. For their many benefits and nutritional value, people largely consume round the year. So here the question is, how long can you use this fruit to maintain its nutrition?
Like every other vegetable or fruit, the squash can also go bad after some duration. However, the shelf life of squash is not confined as it varies on different ways of storage. Therefore, let us discuss the various ways by which you can store this fruit to stay longer.
How to Store Squash
Before storing, you must know that never buy a squash with any cuts, cracks, or soft spots as it is quicker to decay. It requires skill and prior knowledge about what fruit you should prefer taking home or not. We are helping you in this regard.
If the skin of the squash is hard and matte and there is a pale spot on its bottom, you must buy this one as it is and ripen and ready to eat. On the converse, a shiny squash skin indicates that it was plucked before the time, so don’t take this. We are discussing the ways here to store ripe squash.
Store In Pantry
It is best to keep the veggie or fruit in a cool and dark pantry but make sure this storage is not very long. It can get spoiled very easily if stored at room temperature for very long.
Remove The Packaging
When you buy squash home, it must be in some packaging box or bag. It is best to remove it immediately after taking it home to keep your fruit long-lasting.
The refrigerator helps you store squash for a longer duration than the pantry, but you should not go for this option in the first place as it alters the flavor and texture of the fruit. However, people refrigerate it as this fruit is grown in summer but consumed largely in winter.
Place Away From Ripening Fruits
Whether in the pantry or refrigerator, Place the fruit away from any ripening veggies or fruits, i.e., banana. They are producing ethylene that is likely to shorten the shelf life of the fruits/veggies placed nearby.
Cook And Store
This option is for storing your squash for up to 6-8 months. We have discussed this method in detail below in this article.
Can You Freeze Squash
Squash is one of those fruits which have a longer shelf life. Moreover, it is easy to store and maintain its taste for long. Therefore, you can freeze it to eat it in the whole off-season. Remember, if stored in the refrigerator, the cut or cooked squash goes bad faster, but if it is cut and cooked freeze, then its shelf life increases in the freezer.
The best way to freeze squash is to cook it and freeze it (you can find it in good condition for almost 6-8 months). You can also freeze raw squash, but then the duration will be decreased to 4-5 months. For raw squash, peel it off-cut into pieces, put it in a freezer bag or air-tight container, and freeze.
For blanched/cooked squash, cut it into pieces and put them in boiling water. After one minute, drain the water and put it into cold water immediately. Now freeze this blanched squash.
How Long Does Squash Last
Practicing proper hygiene and safe food storage techniques aids in preventing foodborne affliction. Mainly squash grows in summer and gets ready till fall or winter. As we mentioned above, that squash has various kinds, so their shelf life varies. But a general estimate is, it lasts in a pantry or cabinet for around one month.
In the pantry, whole butternut squash lasts for one month, raw sliced 5-6 days while cooked 3-4 days. When we talk about refrigerating, the fruit (whole) can last here without losing quality for about 1-2 months.
While freezing can extend the shelf life of squash to 6-7 months. Proper storage is essential to make the food lasts longer. Food storage helps to give you healthy food and environmentally friendly as it avoids the environment from wastes.
How To Tell If Squash Is Bad
Everything in the universe has an expiry date, so does squash. But how would you distinguish between the fresh and rotten squash? With your senses, sight, smell, and touch, you can tell that squash is bad. Indications for bad squash are given below.
- Change In Texture: The bad squash will start becoming flimsy and soft or sometimes start leaking.
- The Appearance Of Mold: The fruit may also begin to mold; you will want to discard it at this point.
- Bad Odor: The soft or molded squash will not smell fresh for sure. It will be giving a strange pungent, and unpleasant odor that you will throw the fruit away.
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