Growing Squash and Preparing Your Harvest
(Page 5 of 6)
After my squash have been inside for about three to five days, I turn each big squash so that a different part of the squash touches the floor and the first spot gets a chance to dry out. I also trim the stems with sheers to the final length of 1 to 2 inches. And I rearrange the small squash in their crates and stir up the piles of delicatas on the tarps on the floor.
Ideal temperature for storing squash beyond the initial curing stage is supposedly 50°F–55°F with a relative humidity of 50–70 percent. My household conditions of 60°F–68°F and 40–70 percent are supposedly not ideal, but they’re close enough. And perhaps they are ideal. My squash store as long as or longer than anyone else’s. The squash seem to like my methods.
The best squash flavor doesn’t develop until the squash has been fully cured or stored the right amount of time before being eaten. Generally, C. pepo varieties need to sit in my house for two weeks after harvest before they are prime. Most C. maxima varieties should sit at least a month. ‘Sweet Meat’ is best with at least two months. The squash can be eaten earlier, but they aren’t as sweet as they could be, and don’t have as much flavor or as much complexity to the flavor, or as much aroma. C. moschata varieties are said to need two weeks to cure, but I haven’t checked that out personally. It is clear that the curing time is temperature dependent. When my elderly mother was alive, I kept the upstairs part of the house warmer, and the upstairs squash cured and were ready to eat faster. It took the pepos only about a week, and the ‘Sweet Meats’ just a month.
When a squash tastes somewhat starchy instead of sweet, it is usually a curing problem. The squash was probably eaten before its time. When a squash isn’t starchy but has thinner flesh, less flavor, or less sweetness than expected, it is generally because it was picked immature or was poorly grown.
More The Resilient Gardener Squash and Pumpkin Information:
Curing Squash for Better Flavor
Squash Varieties for Winter, Fall and Summer
Drying Squash: Using the Sun or an Electric Dehydrator
Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe
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