Butternut squash is a delicious seasonal winter squash that is usually available between September and December. It is a great addition to both sweet and savory dishes.
Butternut squash is medium in size with a bell-like shape. Its long neck is attached to a bulbous end. Its skin is a light tan, and the skin is firm and thin. Its flesh is orange in color and is usually moist.
When the quality of butternut squash starts to deteriorate, you will notice white spots on the skin. Ideally, the skin should be smooth and uniform in color.
Butternut squash white spots indicate that it has started going bad. You have to check for any other signs of spoilage before using it in your dishes.
In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about butternut squash including proper storage, freezing, shelf life, and signs of spoilage.
Additionally, we will talk about the white stuff that oozes out of butternut squash during peeling or cutting. Let’s dive in.
How to store butternut squash
The perfect temperature to store butternut squash is between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, your best bet would be to store it in a cold pantry.
Other than the temperature, you must keep the butternut squash dry. Additionally, you should ensure that it has adequate ventilation. Note that, unlike zucchini and summer squash, butternut squash does not thrive in humid conditions.
Do not store the squash in a plastic bag because plastic bags tend to trap moisture which will make the quality of your squash deteriorate at a faster rate.
Additionally, you shouldn’t store butternut squash next to bananas, apples, or fruits that are ripening. When fruits ripen, they produce ethylene gas which may make your squash go bad at a faster rate.
It would be best if you didn’t store whole butternut squash in the refrigerator because its texture will be affected.
If you have chopped, cut, or cooked the butternut squash, place the squash in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator.
Ensure that you seal the container tightly to prevent the squash from picking up other smells from food items in your refrigerator.
Alternatively, wrap the squash with aluminum foil or place them in a freezer bag. Remember to squeeze out all the air from the freezer bag before refrigerating.
Can you freeze butternut squash?
Butternut squash is a seasonal vegetable. Therefore, you may want to store it for an extended time so that you still enjoy it even if it is out of season. You can freeze butternut squash to extend its shelf life.
Unlike other veggies, butternut squash freezes quite well. It would be best if you cooked the butternut squash before freezing. This way, you can easily add it to your recipes.
To freeze butternut squash, divide it into portions and place them in airtight containers. This way, you can easily thaw the squash when you want to use it.
The safest way to thaw butternut squash is by placing it in the refrigerator overnight. Defrosted butternut squash is a great addition to stir-fries, stews, soups, and casseroles.
Butternut squash shelf life
Butternut squash has a relatively long shelf life. While whole, butternut squash will retain its quality for a month or longer when stored in the kitchen cabinet or pantry.
If you have a cellar or your pantry has low temperatures of 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, the squash may last for two months or longer.
Sliced or chopped butternut squash will retain its quality for approximately 6 days. After that, its quality starts to deteriorate. The same applies to cooked butternut squash.
Not that the periods above are just estimates of how long butternut squash will retain its good quality.
Signs that butternut squash has gone bad
It may be a little bit difficult to determine how fresh butternut squash is because, unlike other winter squashes that discolor once they are ripe enough to eat, butternut squash stays vibrant for days on end.
Here are a few signs that your butternut squash has gone bad.
- Soft spots.
The skin and rind of butternut squash should be firm. If the squash’s skin has several soft spots, it has started to rot. It would be best to discard it altogether. However, if the soft spots are few, cut them out the way you do other veggies.
- Black spots.
If you notice black spots on your butternut squash, the chances are that it has gone bad. Black or greyish spots on the skin indicate that the squash is no longer safe to eat.
- Unpleasant odor.
When butternut squash goes bad, its aroma is similar to that of overripe apples. Additionally, it may have an unpleasant baked odor when you cut it. Discard the butternut squash when you notice an unpleasant odor.
- White spots or patches on the skin and flesh.
The flesh and rind of butternut squash develop white patches when it starts going bad. Discard the squash if it has white patches.
- Leaking liquid
If the whole squash starts leaking liquid, or it feels hollow inside, it has gone bad and you should discard it.
If mold grows on your squash, you must discard it because it is no longer safe to consume.
What is the white stuff that seeps out of butternut squash when you peel or chop it?
If you peel or chop butternut squash and end up with a sticky mess or notice white stuff seeping out, you may wonder what it is and whether it is safe to eat the squash.
The white, sticky substance is merely a sugar-based substance that transports useful compounds throughout the squash.
The white stuff may not be pleasant to look at, but it doesn’t mean the squash has gone bad.
You can safely eat butternut squash that has white stuff oozing from it. However, try as much as possible to keep the white stuff off your clothes because it may be hard to wash off.
Butternut squash white spots indicate that its quality has started to deteriorate. It would be best if you checked for other signs of spoilage before using it.
Use the storage tips discussed above if you want your butternut squash to last longer.
If your squash has any signs of spoilage, discard it. Eating spoiled butternut squash may result In food poisoning.