Knowing how to store butternut squash is only the first step; knowing how to tell if butternut squash is bad is the next.
Butternut squash can be one of the hardest winter squashes to determine freshness because they tend to last longer than their counterparts. While most squash will start to discolor once they are ready to be eaten or stored, butternut squash may stay bright and vibrant for days before starting to lose their luster. The easiest way to tell if butternut squash is bad is to check the skin for soft spots. These will indicate that the squash has already started to rot.
The smell is one of the most common methods of checking if a butternut squash has gone bad. Butternuts will start to smell like over-ripe apples or a moist, decomposing pumpkin as they spoil. It can also help to look for small black spots on the surface and greyish undertones or skin. The squash will also develop an unpleasant, baked odor which emanates from its interior when it begins going bad. The best thing to do is to cut a section of the squash open and smell it to see if it has gone bad.
The color of the butternut squash is another good method of checking if it has gone bad. Both the rind and flesh will develop dark spots when the squash begins going bad. You can also look for small white patches on both the skin and flesh which are a sign that the squash has spoiled. Mold will sometimes appear as a green or black growth on top of or within the skin or flesh. Again, the best thing to do is to cut a small section of the squash open and look at its interior. If there are no dark spots on the flesh or the rind, it is probably still good.
Squash will start to go bad when it has been exposed to warm temperatures for too long. When you pick out a butternut squash, make sure that it doesn’t already have a bad odor. If it does, don’t buy it because there is a high chance that the squash has already begun rotting! Butternuts should be stored in a cool and dark location such as the refrigerator in order to prevent it from going bad.
Some butternut squashes can be stored for a long time while other varieties should be eaten sooner. Some will last for a year, while others won’t be good after a month. It is best to choose squash that will keep for a long time and are of high quality. The longer the butternut squash lasts, the better it is in terms of quality. However, try to remove it from the refrigerator a few days before you plan on eating it. This can help to bring out its natural sweetness and flavors which might be overpowered by the cold temperature in the fridge.
Some signs of over-ripeness include a loss of natural sweetness, a decrease in squash flavor, and the appearance of dark spots on the skin. Over-ripeness is most apparent when you cut into the squash with a knife. The flesh should be very hard and strong. If it crumbles to pieces instead, it has probably gone bad.
Butternut squashes do become spoiled after they are picked because they do not ripen further like other fruits and vegetables do. They will begin to rot once they have been picked because their cells are no longer being nourished by the plant’s roots or stem.
If you notice any of the signs listed above or if your butternut squash isn’t keeping well, don’t use it! You can easily avoid getting sick just by learning the warning signs of spoiled butternut squash. If you are still not sure, then you should ask the produce person which squash is good to buy!