Ripe acorn squash will stay good for 1–2 months if it is left on the counter, in the pantry, or in another cool, dry place. Avoid storing uncooked acorn squash in the refrigerator, as this will actually make it spoil faster. Whether it’s raw or cooked, diced acorn squash lasts for 3–4 days in the fridge. If you need to store acorn squash long-term, cook it and freeze it. This way, it will remain good for up to 12 months.
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How Long Can You Keep an Uncooked Acorn Squash?
You can use your acorn squash as fall decor and still eat it later! Acorn squash has a shelf life of 1–2 months if it is left whole and undamaged. Whether you use it as part of a centerpiece or keep it in your pantry, it will last for 4–8 weeks.
- Acorn squash will remain ripe and ready to eat for 1–2 months stored at room temperature.
- Although acorn squash stores best in a dry environment around 50℉ (10℃), it’s fine to keep it on your kitchen counter.
- Like other winter squashes, acorn squash remains good longer if it is stored outside your refrigerator
To keep your squash ready to eat as long as possible, store it in a dry area at a temperature slightly above 50 degrees. If you have a cool pantry, garage, or similar space, this is ideal. If the temperature is warmer than 50, don’t worry—your squash will still keep. It’s much better to leave your whole squash out on the kitchen counter than it is to store it in your fridge.
How Long Does Acorn Squash Keep in the Fridge?
Unlike most fresh produce, whole acorn squash actually goes bad faster if it is stored in your refrigerator. The cold, damp environment can lead to mold, rot, and spoilage in just a couple of weeks. Rather than put a whole acorn squash in the refrigerator, leave it out on the counter.
- Do not store whole, uncooked acorn squash in the fridge. It will spoil in days or weeks.
- Raw, sliced acorn squash lasts for 3–4 days in the fridge.
- Cooked acorn squash can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days before it spoils.
If you’ve cut your squash into pieces, store it in your refrigerator. Uncooked acorn squash halves or chunks will last for 3–4 days. Similarly, cooked acorn squash will still be good to eat for 3 days if it is stored in the fridge.
How Do You Store Acorn Squash Long-Term?
Cooked acorn squash can be safely frozen for up to 12 months. The best way to do this is to bake your acorn squash. Then, remove the pulp and skin. Finally, mash or dice the acorn squash for freezing.
- Acorn squash can be safely frozen for up to 12 months.
- Remove the skin, pulp, and seeds from cooked acorn squash before freezing.
- Peel the skin off raw acorn squash, remove the pulp and seeds, then dice it to prepare it for freezer storage.
You can freeze raw acorn squash for up to 1 year as well. For this method, remove the skin of the squash with a vegetable peeler. Then, cut the squash into halves and remove the seeds and pulp. Dice the squash flesh into cubes, then freeze it in a storage bag or airtight container.
How Do You Know If Acorn Squash Has Gone Bad?
Knowing how to spot a spoiled squash is just as important as knowing when to pick acorn squash. The exterior signs of bad acorn squash are cracks in the rind and/or visible mold. Additionally, avoid squash that has soft spots or extremely shiny skin. These are signs of overripe and unripe winter squashes.
- A cracked or moldy exterior.
- Soft spots when the squash is squeezed.
- Glossy skin.
- Slimy squash flesh.
- Gray seeds.
When you cut your squash open, inspect the interior. If the squash halves are extremely slimy, it’s spoiled. Another sign of a bad squash is if the seeds have turned gray. Healthy, ripe squash has seeds that are cream or tan in color.
How Can You Tell If Acorn Squash is Good?
Whether you’re harvesting your own squash or picking one out at a store or farmer’s market, you’ll get the best flavor from ripe acorn squash. A ripe squash is typically dark green with an orange mark on the underside. As the squash continues to ripen, the orange mark grows. If more than one-third of the squash is taken over by orange, the squash may even be overripe.
- Ripe acorn squash is characterized by a dark green color with an orange mark taking up on the underside.
- Some acorn squashes are white or entirely orange, so their ripeness cannot be determined by color.
- A ripe squash should feel heavy for its size.
- A squash that has bounce and give when it’s squeezed is ripe—beware hard or soft squash.
- Ripe squash has tough skin that provides a little resistance when you try to puncture it with your thumbnail.
Some acorn squash varieties are white or entirely orange, meaning that coloration is not always the ideal way to check for squash ripeness. Instead, pick up the squash. It should feel heavy and dense for its size. It should also be firm to the touch, with a little give and springiness when squeezed. Press your fingernail into the squash’s skin. If your fingernail breaks through easily, the squash was harvested before it was ripe. The skin should be just tough enough to resist being punctured easily.
How Do You Preserve Acorn Squash?
There are several ways to store acorn squash depending on whether it’s whole, diced, uncooked, or cooked. The rules for acorn squash storage are:
- Uncooked, whole squash can be stored on a kitchen counter for 1–2 months.
- Uncooked, diced squash lasts for 3–4 days in the refrigerator.
- Cooked squash will stay good in your fridge for 3 days.
- Both cooked and uncooked acorn squash can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months.
Although freezer storage takes a little extra prep work, it’s a great way to save your harvest so you can enjoy acorn squash at any time of year. Just remember to save those seeds so you can plant your own acorn squash in spring!