How to tell if butternut squash is bad? (+5 Ways to cook)

In this article, we will answer the question “How to tell if butternut squash is bad?”, and how to store butternut squash?

How to tell if butternut squash is bad?

You will notice a bad or funny smell and changes in texture if your butternut squash is bad. If white specks begin to appear on the surface throw it away.

Butternut squash lasts quite long as compared to garlic and onions if stored properly. butter nut squash has a sweet and mildly nutty taste. Following signs can help you find out if the butter squash has gone bad or not.

Mushy texture and bruised skin

The skin of the butternut squash should be firm and uniformly colored. If it has mushy spots and bruises all over the skin, it has started to rot. In case of one or two squishy spots, cut them out and use the rest. 

Cooked butternut squash should be checked for the presence of any mold or off odors. Butternut squash should not yield to the gentle press by the palms or fingers.


The worst-case scenario is that the skin is damaged and the juice is oozing out of the winter squash. This allows the bacteria to invade and multiply to unacceptable levels. Throw it out immediately.

Feel the weight

Feel the weight of the vegetable. It should feel heavy and sturdy because of the flesh and the water. Dried-out winter squash will feel light.

Stringy flesh

If the area around the seeds of the butternut squash feels stringy or has dark and mushy spots, discard it.

Does butternut squash go bad? 

Yes, butternut squash goes bad depending on whether it is whole or peeled. Whole butternut squash lasts for 2 – 3 months if stored at ideal temperature ranges (Between 10 – 13 degrees celsius). On the other hand, peeled butternut squash has a much shorter shelf life and lasts for 5 days if stored properly in the refrigerator.

How long does butter squash last?

Like spaghetti squash, winter squash has quite a long shelf-lifie that is stored correctly. Whole fresh butternut squash will last 1-2 months in the pantry depending upon how it was harvested and how long it was sitting on the shelf before buying. The following table shows an estimated shelf-life of butternut squash under different storage conditions.

In the pantryIn the fridge 
Whole butternut squash1-2 months 
Sliced/chopped butternut squash 5-6 days
Cooked butternut squash4-5 days

Butternut squash grows best from October to November. The butternut squash that is available off-season is usually imported and will have a shorter shelf-life than the locally produced vegetable. When buying off-season, go for frozen butternut squash.

How to store butternut squash?

  • The rule of thumb is to store the butternut squash in a cool, well-ventilated, and dry place just like the eggplants. Unlike summer squash like zucchini, butternut squash should be stored in a dry environment. The optimum storage temperature for butternut squash is 50° to 60°F. This temperature is hard to achieve in a pantry or cellar.
  • Keep the vegetable in the pantry that has a slightly lower temperature than the room temperature.
  • Keep it away from ethylene-producing fruits like apples and bananas, to prevent it from going bad quickly.
  • Cut or chopped butternut squash should be kept in an air-tight container or a plastic bag. Squeeze out the air from the bag.
  • Cooked butternut squash should be stored in air-tight containers or freezer bags for safe storage.

Can you freeze butternut squash?

Butternut squash should be frozen to extend its shelf-life and to enjoy the vegetable off-season. It is recommended to first cook or bake the vegetable before freeze-storing. Skip the herbs during cooking. Add them during reheating the thawed butternut squash.

Simply put the cooked or baked butternut squash in freezer bags or air-tight container, label them, and put it in the freezer. It is recommended to freeze it in portion-size amounts so that it is easier to thaw.

Thaw the butternut squash in the fridge overnight. Frozen butternut squash can be added to soups, stews, casseroles, or stir-fries, etc.

Butternut squash recipes

  • Roast some butternut squash with onions. Add spicy arugula and toss all of this with nutty sesame vinaigrette. Sprinkle with lemon zest, cilantro, and almonds.
  • Make butternut squash soup with pumpkin. This soup is the perfect delight for a weekend dinner in winter.
  • In a pressure cooker, cook rice with shallots, garlic, sage. Use broth and butternut squash to cook rice. Season with salt, pepper, and parmesan. This tasty risotto only takes 6 minutes to make.
  • Making Spice-Roasted Butternut Squash With Cider Vinaigrette is the classic way to go about it.
  • Winter squash and lentil stew are very easy to make in a pressure cooker. First, the shallots and ginger are heated with coriander and cardamom. Squash and lentils are added followed by broth and are allowed to cook. Spinach is stirred in and the stew is seasoned with vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Other FAQs about Butternut Squash that you may be interested in.

Can you eat green butternut squash?

Can you eat butternut squash raw?

How long does butternut squash last?


In this article, we answered the question “How to tell if butternut squash is bad?”, and how to store butternut squash?


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