How to Store Butternut Squash

Keep Butternut Squash Fresh for Months

Butternut Squash on a wooden table
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Butternut squash is a nutritious and tasty autumn vegetable. It's also quite large and inexpensive, so you may find yourself with a surplus, even after making a big batch of soup or stew. But don't fret if you have more butternut squash than you can eat right way; it's easy enough to store. Just follow these simple steps, and it'll keep for months. 

Buying Butternut Squash

If long-term storage is your goal, choose blemish-free butternut squash with hard, dull skins and at least an inch of stem intact.

Squash with soft spots, mold or other damage won't keep for long. Opt for squash that feels heavy for its size. That's an indication that it's fresh.

Growing and Harvesting Your Own Butternut Squash

If you're fortunate enough to have a garden where you grow your own butternut squash, be careful not to pick your squash too soon. While it may look ready by mid to late summer, it needs to stay on the vine until late September or early October, so the skin has a chance to thicken fully. If your butternut squash is truly ripe, you shouldn't be able to break the skin with your fingernail. It's that thick skin that makes the squash so storage-friendly. If you accidentally picked your squash too soon, just work it into your meal plan sometime in the next few weeks. It won't store well, but it should still be tasty.

How to Store Butternut Squash

Store your fresh, uncut squash in a cool, dark place, such as a basement or closet, where sunlight won't hasten its ripening.

Under the right storage conditions, your butternut squash should last two to three months.

Refrigerating or Freezing Butternut Squash

Butternut squash tend to be pretty big. If you cut up more than you need for today's recipe, you can store the unused portion in the fridge for at least four days. Just make sure it's covered, ideally in a close-fitting container or zippered plastic bag.

Cut butternut squash can also be frozen. Just spread it out on a cookie sheet, and flash freeze it. Transfer the squash to a freezer-safe container or plastic bag once it's frozen. This will prevent the squash cubes from sticking together, so it's easy to grab just what you need for a recipe. Be sure to label your squash with the contents and date, so you don't mistake it for something else. Frozen squash will keep indefinitely, but is best used within 6-12 months.

Make Butternut Squash Puree and Save the Seeds

Roast and puree your squash before you freeze it, so you can easily add it to bread and soup recipes, or reheat it for baby food. It can also be used in place of the pumpkin puree called for in any recipe. The two are indistinguishable in taste. You can even use it to make a "pumpkin" pie. Butternut squash seeds are edible, just like pumpkin seeds.