When to harvest squash for the best flavor?
When to harvest squash for the best flavor? That is a question that needs to be answered in two parts. The reason is, that there is both summer squash and winter squash. The both have good flavors. Though, they are harvested at two different times.
Depending on how hot it is in the area you live in will also be a large determining factor in how early you will pick your first squash. The sign that you will want to look for in your summer squash are as follows:
- The vine will be softer
- The rind is very tender
- Seeds are not yet developed
- They may be smaller in size
- The insides will be softer
- The size in general will be about 6 inches long or longer depending on the squash type
- The time is usually about 50 days after planting
For the winter squash you will look for these signs:
- The vine will be stronger
- The rind will be stronger
- The seeds are well developed
- These are a little larger in size
- The insides are firmer
- The flavor is rich
- The average time is around 60-75 days depending on the heat and type of squash
Here are some tips that will help you know if a squash is mature.
- Butter squash will turn from a light beige color to a deep tan color when it is ripe.
- Winter squash tends to have orange blush in spots.
- Acorn squash will be dark green, with a yellow spot facing the ground, when the yellow spot turns orange, then the squash is ready for picking.
- Spaghetti squash will go from the creamy white look, to a bright yellow color.
- The ones that have green streaks across the white background will be ready when the white changes to beige and orange in color.
You can always pick summer squash early enough to enjoy it through the summer. Then pick the winter squash for storage during the winter. You will find that good winter squash when harvested at the right time, will last up to two months when stored at 55 degrees. If you freeze your squash it can also last much longer.
Therefore the key is using harvesting the squash when you need it, then letting it mature, and them storing it for the winter.
Many people say that the smaller a squash is, then the better flavor you will find. That is true in some cases. The reason to use caution with this theory is that if you pick a squash too early, you will not have a squash that has reached its full potential. When you are picking zucchini, it is a good idea to pick them when they are smaller. This is the same for the acorn and other delicate squashes. However, picking a spaghetti squash too early will result in poor taste.
These are some common tips for when to harvest squash for the best flavor. It is going to be your view when you are looking at what you find the best flavor. The best flavor will be what ever works for you. The main thing to look for will be the ripeness of the rine and the strength of the vine.