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Butternut squash - what to do with under ripe ones (etc)?

Hi again

Following on from my "Is this a butternut squash plant?!?" thread, I now have a couple of questions about my ACTUAL butternut squashes :)  

As I mentioned in the other thread, I am going away on Friday for a week and wondering whether I need to harvest these before I go.
Also, from what my very inexperienced eyes tell me, some of them are under ripe.  If that is indeed the case, is there anything I can do to help mature them?  Are they still edible when eaten under ripe?  

Here are a few pics.  The last one is of the ripest one we have and I think that looks good to go.  The others are less ripe and also quite small (around fist sized).  

Many thanks







Last edited: 25 October 2016 22:28:19


  • I was just about to post a very similar question as I have one huge squash and several smaller, greener ones on my allotment. A neighbour said they should be OK until the frost sets in and I would like them to keep going as long as possible - as it is still mild, I have left them but give them plenty of water

  • This may be of some interest, especially the bit about picking and keeping for some time (in which they'll hopefully ripen?)

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 14,272

    The last ones look OK to harvest. Leave some stem on them and put them on a sunny windowsill for a week or two before storing in a cool dark place. Some of the smaller ones look as though they would do better left on the plant a bit longer. But have you any idea what the weather will be like? If there is a risk of hard frosts they won't make it outside. If the forecast is mild I'd leave them, you could wrap them in horticultural fleece. It is getting a bit late in the season. If you feel they are borderline then they may finish ripening on a sunny windowsill.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,881

    Did you see what Monty showed on GW the other week?  Harvest squash with a piece of the main stem so that it forms a T rather than just the squash's individual stem - apparently that helps avoid the stem rotting and rot setting into the fruit. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • OnopordumOnopordum Posts: 390

    Can't see much benefit in leaving the fruits longer since all the leaves have died, so no source of sugars to feed them. I think you might as well harvest them and put them somewhere warm to ripen (warmth being more important than sun). They'll certainly be edible, although I don't know how the taste compares to fully ripe ones. Under-ripe fruits won't keep as long so use them first.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 14,272

    They aren't as sweet and the texture is more dense.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
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