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How to Tell if Butternut Squash is Bad

Have you ever wondered how to tell if butternut squash is bad?

Look no further! In this informative blog post, we’ll share foolproof methods on how to tell if butternut squash is bad, saving you from potential culinary disasters and ensuring your dishes taste as delicious as they should.

No more guessing games or ruined meals!

How to tell if butternut squash is bad


If you’re not sure whether or not butternut squash has gone bad, there are a few things you can look for. First, check the color of the squash. If it’s starting to turn brown, that’s a bad sign. Second, see if the squash is soft or mushy; if it is, toss it out. Finally, smell the squash; if it smells moldy at all, throw it away.

Whole butternut squash with a cut half and diced chunks on a dark wood board

There are a few things you can look for when trying to figure out how to tell if butternut squash is bad. You can tell by looking at its skin, its texture, and how it smells.

Let’s get into the specifics of what to look for.

How it looks

To tell if a butternut squash is bad by only looking at it, inspect the flesh of the squash. It should have a bright, vibrant color with no discoloration, mushiness, or rotten spots.

Additionally, the squash should have dull uniform beige color skin, no cuts or bruises, and smooth, velvety skin. Avoid any squash that has soft spots on its skin, looks hollow or airy, or has mold on it.

How it feels

To tell if a butternut squash is bad, you should start by checking if it’s firm to the touch. If it feels soft or light, then the squash needs to be thrown out.

To tell if butternut squash is bad by feel, look for squishy spots on the skin. If the squash feels soft in some areas, it’s best to get a new one instead of using the damaged squash.

You should also check the flesh of the squash for a bright and vibrant color. If it’s mushy or has rotten spots, that’s another sign that it needs to be thrown out.

Finally, fresh butternut squash should be hefty and robust, feeling heavier in weight than it looks.

How it smells

If you want to tell if butternut squash is bad by smell alone, you should look for a sour or rancid smell. This may indicate that the flesh is rotten and should be avoided.

You may also notice a mild, earthy smell if the squash is still good.

Additionally, if you pick up the squash and notice any liquid on it or under it, it could be a sign that it has gone bad. Finally, if you cut open the squash and it is slimy or smelly, you should throw it away.

Indicator Good Butternut Squash Bad Butternut Squash
Appearance Matte, firm, and blemish-free surface Dark, moldy, or mushy spots on the surface
Smell Mild, slightly sweet scent or no distinct smell Off-putting, sour, or musty odor
Texture Hard, dense, and evenly colored flesh Soft, watery, or discolored flesh

What is butternut squash?

Butternut squash is a type of winter squash with a cylindrical shape, creamy-yellow color, and sweet flesh. It is typically harvested in the fall and can be stored for several months.

It is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium, and is low in calories, making it a healthy choice.

It has a tan-yellow tough exterior skin with firm orange flesh inside and a circular cavity for seeds, and when it ripens, it becomes a deeper orange color and has more flavor and richness.

Nutritionally, it contributes vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium and is related to the Canadian crookneck. It can be eaten fresh, or used in soups, stews, and pies.

You can also find out more about how to tell if potatoes are bad or how to tell if celery is bad. All vegetables have different ways of presenting themselves when they have gone bad.

Tips for choosing butternut squash

Choosing the perfect butternut squash can be a daunting task, especially when you are in the supermarket aisle surrounded by all the different types of produce.

But fret not, we have got you covered with a few handy tips to help you pick the perfect butternut squash.

1. Check the Skin for Rashes and Blemishes

When selecting a good quality squash in the grocery store, look for one that is heavy for its size with smooth, dry, and unblemished skin. look for skin that has a dark shade of beige, peach, or tan in color.

2. Touch the Squash to Check for Firmness

Pick a Butternut Squash that is both hard and heavy for its size and check for a firm and intact dark green stem. Lastly, With these tips in mind, you will be sure to find the perfect butternut squash for your next recipe.

3. Smell the Squash to Make Sure It Isn’t Rotten

Good squash will have a mild, neutral smell while bad butternut squash will smell sour or rancid. If you smell pungent squash at the store, it is best to choose another one as the flesh will likely be spoiled once opened.

How do I store butternut squash to keep it fresh?

To keep butternut squash fresh and lasting, you should store it in a cool, dry place with good ventilation, such as a pantry, closet, or basement.

Make sure that the squash does not touch each other, and wrap each one in paper to prevent any rot from spreading.

Additionally, it is important to keep the squash away from ethylene-producing fruits such as apples and bananas, as these can speed up the ripening process.

Cut butternut squash must be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Check on the squash from time to time, discarding any that show signs of spoilage.

Properly storing your vegetables is important to keep them fresh and lasting longer. I have a few helpful posts like, how to store eggplant or how to store garlic that might be helpful to you.

Frequently asked questions about how to tell if butternut squash is bad

If the squash has only a small bad spot, you can cut away the affected area, ensuring you remove at least an inch around the spoiled part. However, if the spoilage is extensive, it’s best to discard the entire squash.

Whole, uncut butternut squash can last for about a month when stored in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place. Once cut, it should be refrigerated and consumed within 3-5 days to ensure freshness and avoid spoilage.

Consuming spoiled butternut squash can lead to foodborne illness, causing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. It’s crucial to ensure your squash is fresh before consuming it to avoid potential health risks.

To extend the shelf life of your butternut squash, store it whole in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place, like a pantry or cellar. After cutting, wrap the squash in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container and refrigerate it to maintain its freshness.


With the valuable insights provided in this article on how to tell if butternut squash is bad, you can now confidently distinguish between fresh and spoiled squash.

By applying these tips, you’ll not only enhance the flavor of your dishes but also protect yourself and your loved ones from potential health risks. Happy cooking and safe eating!

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