Acorn squash is an autumn staple and a great vegetable to grow in your backyard garden. Acorn squash is easy to grow, but it’s not always easy to know when it’s ready for harvest.
Read on for tips on how to tell when you should pick your acorn squash, plus information about storing this delicious vegetable after harvest.
When To Harvest Acorn Squash
Acorn squash is ready to harvest when it’s fully mature. This is when you’ll have a hard time prying open the shell with your fingers and can easily cut off the stem and fruit with a sharp knife. You should be able to tell that acorn squash is mature because its skin will be smooth, and free of blemishes, and the flesh inside will feel firm but not hard.
If you want to grow large acorns for cooking, then plant them in early summer so they have enough time before winter sets in to ripen properly. If you’re growing small-sized acorns for eating fresh out of hand or as decorative items on your fall table or mantelpiece display, then plant them between April and June—they’ll stay tender even after frost has killed most other vegetables in your garden plot!
When Is The Best Month To Harvest Acorn Squash?
Acorn squash plants are very hardy, so they will survive even if you wait until the last minute to pick them. However, the longer you leave them on the vine, the larger they will grow, which means they will take longer to cook and eat.
You can harvest acorn squash anytime between September and November — as long as they’re ripe.
Can You Harvest Acorn Squash Too Early?
If you’re thinking of harvesting your acorn squash before it’s ready, think again. Harvesting the vegetable too soon will result in smaller fruit that isn’t as tasty or sweet.
Also, if you cut into an acorn squash too early, it will taste bitter and mushy and may be difficult to cook.
The skin should be soft enough that you can poke a fork into it with little effort. If the skin is still hard, then let your acorn squash sit out on the counter for another day or so until it is ready to use.
How to Harvest Acorn Squash
Harvesting acorn squash is fairly simple. First, you need to allow the fruit to fully ripen on the vine. The skin will become dull and hard when it’s ready to be harvested. The color of the acorn squash may also change slightly as it matures, but this is not typically noticeable until you’re close enough to see the difference in color between immature and mature fruits.
Once you know that your acorn squash is ready for harvest, cut it from its stem using a sharp knife or pruning shears. Remove any dirt from the outside with cool water if necessary before storing your acorn squash at room temperature until ready for use (or keep them outdoors where they can continue ripening).
Storing Acorn Squash After Harvesting
Harvesting acorn squash is simple. Just cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds, then cook it. Here are some other ways to use your harvest:
Freeze. You can freeze acorn squash just like any other winter squash, or even better, use it as a substitute for pumpkin in pies and other recipes.
Make jam or applesauce. Use the flesh of your acorn squash for jams, jellies, apple butter, or baked goods like muffins and bread.
Make soup stock from the seeds. Roast the seeds in a 300-degree oven for about 30 minutes until they’re browned and crunchy, then let them cool before grinding them up in a food processor or blender to use as a base for soups and stews.
Acorn squash is a delicious, nutritious vegetable that you can enjoy year-round. With a little planning and care, you can grow your own and keep it fresh until you’re ready to use it. All you need to know is when to harvest acorn squash and how long it takes from seedling to mature plant.