Will my picked butternut squash continue to ripen?

catherinet(5 IN)October 14, 2009

We had a heavy frost last week, and instead of covering up my butternut squash patch, I decided to pick them. They looked pretty much all ripe. But today, as I was cutting into some of them to freeze, I realized that a fair number of them are just not ripe enough. If I leave the ones alone on the porch, will they continue to ripen more?

If I cook the not-quite-ripe ones, will the flesh be bitter?

Bummer. I guess I'm learning about those subtle differences in skin color, that tell us the degree of their ripeness.


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In a word... no. They will not ripen further. Neither will they be bitter. But they likely won't have the rich, sweet flavor you'd expect from a Butternut. Butternuts, like other winter squashes, can be eaten immature much like summer squashes. I pick off any winter squashes that I know don't have time to ripen, and steam or saute them.
However, you likely have some squashes that are neither ripe, nor young and tender. Experimentation is in order. Try slicing, cubing, steaming, sauteing, frying, baking or whatever. They are usable, but they don't have the storage endurance of a truly ripe Butternut.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 3:41PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks tcstoehr,
I roasted some that weren't so ripe, and you're right.....they aren't bitter. The puree was VERY thick. I'm thinking these might be good for "pumpkin" pie, since its so thick, and the flavor of those types of pies seem to come mostly from the spices and sugar, rather than the pumpkin/squash.
Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 7:30PM
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winter squash/pumpkins continue ripening and changing internally after certain stage. So, they do not need to be on the live or dead vine. The same goes for melons and watermelons. The chemical changes take place continualy, by producing more sugar and loosing moisture.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 8:59PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks cyrus.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 11:24AM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

I have had acorn squash ripen to a bright orange in the cellar over the winter, when picked slightly early. I have been watching a butternut change from slightly green to tan over the past month, on a shelf in my storage room.

Here is a link that might be useful: My country blog

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 5:26PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks sheryl!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 7:39PM
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