Spaghetti squash gets its name because when it’s cooked, the flesh inside resembles spaghetti. It’s so like pasta that it’s used as a gluten-free alternative. But how long can it last?
While spaghetti squash doesn’t last like uncooked wheat pasta, it lasts around three months if it’s uncut. Cut squash can survive around five to seven days if you keep it in the refrigerator, and four to five days if it’s been cooked. The squash, if properly stored in freezer-friendly bags with all the air pressed out, lasts up to eight months.
Spaghetti squash is a fruit since it has seeds. It will eventually decay and go bad, but there are ways to make it last as long as possible.
Does Spaghetti Squash Go Bad? How Long Does Spaghetti Squash Last?
Here’s a brief look at all the places you can store spaghetti squash, and how long the squash can survive in each place.
How Long Does Spaghetti Squash Last Outside?
Spaghetti squash survives one to three months if you haven’t cut into it yet, although two months is far more common. The maximum time is possible if you store it in a cool, dry place between 55- and 60-degrees Fahrenheit.
Even if it isn’t stored in the pantry or a cupboard, a squash can last around a month stored on the counter at room temperature, i.e., around 68 degrees.
Your squash lasts the longest in well-ventilated areas. If it’s possible, keep the squash out of humidity and direct sunlight. Also, store it away from any direct heat sources, like putting it too close to the oven.
How Long Does Spaghetti Squash Last in the Fridge?
The refrigerator is the best place to store spaghetti squash once you’ve cut it. You can also store whole squash there, but that makes it go bad quicker than it would have outside. An uncut squash lasts one to two weeks in the fridge.
Cut squash lasts around five to seven days in the refrigerator if uncooked. Once cooked, the squash is still good up to four to five days later.
Both cooked and uncooked squash need to be stored in either an air-tight container or covered in plastic wrap. When you cook squash, you need to put any leftovers in the fridge within two hours.
How Long Does Spaghetti Squash Last in the Freezer?
Freezing spaghetti squash makes it last for up to eight months, but only if it’s in something like a freezer-safe bag with all the air pressed out before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
Uncooked spaghetti squash doesn’t do as well in the freezer as cooked squash does because raw squash tends to lose its flavor when frozen. Don’t put cooked squash in the freezer if it’s just out of the oven; just-cooked squash still has a lot of moisture in it as steam, which gets trapped in the bag, affecting the squash inside.
Another thing you can do before you freeze it is to get rid of excess water by putting the squash into a strainer or colander and gently pressing the excess water out. If you can’t see any more water coming out, it’s ready to be frozen. You can also put the colander in a larger bowl and leave that in the fridge overnight.
And finally, whichever way you store your squash, always make sure to check it for signs that it’s going bad, especially before you use it.
How To Tell if Spaghetti Squash Has Gone Bad/How To Know if Spaghetti Squash Is Fresh
So, you’re ready to use or eat your squash, but you’ve had the squash for a long time, and you want to make sure it’s still good to eat. Here’s what to look for:
Outside the squash: Signs of the squash starting to rot include soft spots on the rind, cracks, brownish spots, and other discolorations, and a black, shriveled, or moist stem. The outside should be bright yellow and not a dull color. Sniff the outside of the squash near the stem. Does it smell particularly strong? A strong odor is another sign that it could be rotting inside.
On the inside: If squash looks green, that means it’s not rotten, but not ripe yet. Squash that has gone bad has spots or is rotten on the inside when you cut it. If it’s moldy or the flesh inside feels mushy, or if it feels very dry then it’s time to toss it.
After cooking: You’ll know your squash has gone bad when you start seeing mold or when it starts smelling funny and feeling a bit more slimy than normal, and you see a white-ish liquid substance on it. Cooked or uncooked, rotten spaghetti squash will taste bitter, and won’t be good to eat.
How To Store Spaghetti Squash?
Spaghetti squash is considered a winter squash, which means it’s supposed to be eaten when it’s mature, i.e., around winter. All kinds of winter squash can be stored in the same way.
- Storing spaghetti squash starts with picking a good one. Get a mature squash that’s bright yellow and too tough to scratch if you’re using your fingernail. Make sure the stem is light gray and feels dry
- Prepare the squash by cleaning it twice, first by taking off any dirt or dust, then by using anti-bacterial soap or vinegar solution, if you want to be natural
- Store your squash at a humidity of between 50 to 70 percent. This way it won’t dry out or get moldy
- If you have a humidity-controlled drawer in your refrigerator, that’s the best place to keep your squash, since squash doesn’t need as much humidity as some vegetables
- Don’t store the squash near apples, pears, bananas, and other fruit; they give off a gas that makes squash ripen faster
How To Freeze Spaghetti Squash?
Spaghetti squash lasts longer in the freezer, but without the proper precautions your squash could wind up an unsavable disaster. Here are some tips for freezing it.
- Spaghetti squash doesn’t freeze like other kinds of squash; its flesh is long strands, so it can’t be cut up in cubes. That’s why it’s preferable to freeze cooked squash
- When you freeze spaghetti squash, you want it to be dry. Using salt or a salt rub on the squash helps the process
- Once all excess water has been taken out and the cooked squash has cooled down, you can put it in a freezer-friendly resealable bag. Make sure you get as much air out as possible
- Place the squash in the back of the freezer away from the door, so it’s at a constant temperature. Don’t forget to label the bag with the contents and the date so you know when it’s no good
How To Thaw Spaghetti Squash?
There are several ways to defrost spaghetti squash when you’re ready to eat it.
- The easiest method, though not the fastest, is to move the squash from the freezer to the fridge. This can be done overnight. Alternatively, you can simmer your squash for five to seven minutes in a saucepan of lightly salted water or pasta sauce
- You can also put partially thawed and partially covered spaghetti squash in the microwave on medium heat for 45 seconds. Be careful not to cook the squash for too long; overcooked squash turns mushy and less appetizing
Frequently Asked Questions About Spaghetti Squash’s Shelf Life
What is curing spaghetti squash, and does that affect its shelf life?
Curing is a form of food preservation. In the context of spaghetti squash, it’s essentially drying it out by leaving it in the sun for a few days to make the squash last a little longer. Most squash bought in the supermarket has already been cured by the time you buy it, but if you’re growing your own there are a lot of helpful sites that explain the process.
Are spaghetti squash hybrids any different in terms of shelf life?
Hybrid squash are crosses between at least two different squash types. From what I’ve seen, I don’t think there’s any difference between regular spaghetti squash and hybridized spaghetti squash. They’re similar enough to hybridize, so they most likely last the same amount of time.
The good thing about spaghetti squash is that it’s not only a healthy pasta alternative, but you can grow it at home. You’ll have a good meal waiting in the garden, and you’ll know exactly when the squash was picked, making it last the longest time possible.