Can you eat spaghetti squash if the seeds have sprouted?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat spaghetti squash if the seeds have sprouted?” and discuss what happens when you eat squash seeds?

Can you eat spaghetti squash if the seeds have sprouted?

Yes, you can eat spaghetti squash if the seeds have sprouted. The squash should be good to consume as long as it does not have any signs of degradation of microbial spoilage, such as changes in the aroma, fungal growth or loss of texture.

In fact, sprouted seeds may increase the nutritional value of the vegetable. The squash’s seeds and flesh are still edible, as are the seeds, when sprouted. Seeds of the Cucurbita species, which include pumpkins, squash, zucchini and cantaloupe have importante nutritional and potential therapeutic values.

During the germination process, biosynthesis and interconversion reactions can result in the generation of new compounds and accumulation of metabolites. Related studies showed that the germination treatment has a profound impact on the accumulation of functional components. Several  studies  have  improved  the  nutritive value in pumpkin seeds through their germination (2).

When should you not eat spaghetti squash?

You should not eat spaghetti squash when signs or deterioration of the vegetable are noticed. Wilting of the squash, red or white spots on the surface, rotting of the ends are some possible signs that the squash has been infected by fungus. Several notorious fungal pathogens are associated with Cucurbita species (6).

During storage, off-odors may develop resulting from the action of microorganisms. This leads to an increased bitterness of the vegetable after being cooked (1).

In the case of cooked squash, off-odors and off-flavors may be detected during storage. Changes in color, texture loss (increased softening) were reported by studies as being possible signs of degradation of cooked squash.

In addition to microbial deterioration of the vegetables, its nutritive value may be reduced due to degradation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, resultantly generating toxic aldehydes, which also poses a negative impact on sensory properties of food. Shelf life of these types of foods is always reduced due to oxidation of lipids (3).

Why do squash seeds sprout?

Squash seeds sprout due to an anticipated end of the period of dormancy of the seeds. One of the reasons that may lead to early sprouting is high temperature of storage.

The sprouting of pre-harvest seeds in the plant, also called viviparity, is a phenomenon characterized by the germination of the seeds inside the fruit still adhered to the mother plant or during its storage, due to the early end of the seed dormancy period (7). 

Germination of fruit seeds while still on the mother plant often occurs in harvested fruits that are stored in the field for a long time. According to studies, delaying the harvest of tomatoes and peppers leads to an incidence of 2 to 5% of viviparous seeds in these fruits. To avoid the sprouting of seeds still inside the fruit, it is recommended that the harvest be carried out at the appropriate time.

As mentioned earlier, germinated pumpkin seeds have improved nutritive value, according to several  studies. However, to avoid unintended germination of squash seeds, adequate storage practices are recommended.

As soon as the seeds are completely dry, place them in an airtight glass jar or plastic bag and keep them cool and dry. Mark the container with the name of the squash variety and the date clearly on it. If there are any remaining bugs, place the container in the freezer for two days. Then keep the seeds in a cold, dry place like the refrigerator (4).

Can you eat germinated squash seeds?

Yes, you can eat germinated squash seeds or any germinated seeds from Cucurbita species. Germination enhances bioactive compounds in plant seeds.

During germination, proteins are converted into amino acids, improving their energy and digestibility. In addition, it has been reported that through germination pumpkin seeds have increased the concentrations of γ- aminobutyric acid, or GABA (C4H9NO2), a bioactive constituent of pumpkin seeds.

This 4-carbon non-protein amino acid has many reported bioactivities, such as alleviation  of  anxiety,  regulation  of  blood  pressure  and  cholesterol,  and  prevention  of  obesity  and  diabetes  (2).

Is spaghetti squash a good source of nutrition?

Yes, spaghetti squash is a good source of nutrition, although spaghetti squash is a calorie-efficient dish. It has a high fiber content. Dietary fibers are constituents of plants that are not digested by our body, some fibers help to slow the absorption of sugars and control the level of cholesterol in the blood (5). 

Because it’s used as a low-calorie alternative to high-calorie meals, it may be an effective component in a diet to reduce obesity. Diabetes and heart disease may be prevented or managed better if you maintain a healthy weight (3). 

Several squash and pumpkin species are a natural and rich source of potential bioactive compounds, such as carotenoids, tocopherols, phenols, terpenoids, saponins, sterols, fatty acids, functional carbohydrates and polysaccharides (6). 

What are possible ways to consume squash seeds?

The possible ways to consume squash seeds or seeds of Cucurbita species are as a snack, after being dried or roasted, in addition to salads, morning cereals or bakery products.

Powdered pumpkin seeds may be added to bread and cake doughs to partially replace flour/ oil, improving their nutritional profiles. In the form of oil, pumpkin seeds exhibit high antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis and other bacteria. 

Other FAQs about Squash that you may be interested in.

Can you eat yellow squash raw?

How to preserve yellow squash

Can you eat kabocha squash skin?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat spaghetti squash if the seeds have sprouted?” and we discussed what happens when you eat squash seeds?


  1. Mencarelli, Fabio, Werner J. Lipton, and Sharon J. Peterson. Responses of ‘Zucchini’ squash to storage in low-O2 atmospheres at chilling and nonchilling temperatures. J Am Soc Horticult Sci, 1983, 108, 884-890.
  2. Liang, Li, et al. Optimization of germination and ultrasonic‐assisted extraction for the enhancement of γ‐aminobutyric acid in pumpkin seed. Food Sci Nutr, 2022, 10, 2101-2110.  
  3. Hussain, Ashiq, et al. Utilization of pumpkin, pumpkin powders, extracts, isolates, purified bioactives and pumpkin based functional food products; a key strategy to improve health in current post COVID 19 period; an updated review. Appl Food Res, 2022, 100241.  
  4. J.E. Ells, L.N. Bass and D. Whiting. Storing vegetables and flowers seeds. Colorado State University.
  5. ABDOUL-LATIF, Fatouma M, et al. Effectiveness of a diet for type 2 diabetics based on vegetables and fruits of the Cucurbitaceae family. J Analyt Sci Appl Biotechnol, 2021, 3, 3-2.
  6. Salehi, Bahare, et al. Cucurbita plants: from farm to industry. Appl Sci, 2019, 9, 3387.
  7. Aya, L. F., et al. Prevalence and variation of viviparous germination with respect to fruit maturation in the bottle gourd Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standley (Cucurbitaceae). Heliyon, 2019, 5, e02584.