In the Garden: Winter squash storage tips

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) It is winter squash season and it's time to harvest them. The first thing you have to know is when your winter squash is ready to harvest. And you gotta look at the skin color and know what the ultimate skin color should be for that type of squash. Like these butternut, one's a little green, one's a little brown. Obviously you want the brown one. If you harvest them too soon, they won't have the same flavor. You also want to cut the stem so you have a couple of inches left. Then you want to cure these squash.

But before you do that, you also want to wash them with a 10 percent bleach solution to kill any fungus and bacteria that might be on the skin. Then just cure them in a garage, barn, or shed. Somewhere where it gets 70 to 80 degrees for a couple of weeks.

The exception is, this one! This acorn squash you don't want to cure because it really ruins the flavor. So you want to keep it cool after you harvest it.

Once you've cured them, then store them in a 50 degree basement or root cellar. For your acorn and your delicata, I love delicata, you want to eat these first. They only last maybe a month or two in storage.

The buttercup and the spaghetti squash will last maybe two to three months in storage. Then the ones that last the longest would be the hubbards, this is a little baby hubbard, and the butternuts. These last up to 6 months in storage.

The key with these longer lasting ones is you want to make sure you don't eat them for the first month or two, because they won't taste as good. They'll taste better after their carbohydrates have turned into sugars.

~by Charlie Nardozzi