First, pay attention to color!
- Look for a squash that has a matte, soft finish. It shouldn’t be spotted and shouldn’t appear shiny or waxy.
- → Acorn squash should be uniformly green and matte—streaks/spots of orange are fine, but too much orange indicates over-ripeness and the squash will be dry and stringy.
- → Butternut should have no signs of green.
- → Heart of gold/Carnival should be brightly colored squash that is heavy for their size.
- → Pie Pumpkin should have no hint of green and still has a stem attached; older pumpkins may lose their stems.
- → Spaghetti Squash should be a bright yellow squash that is free of blemishes and soft spots.
Check out the stem!
- If squash is past its prime, the stem will pop off easily. Old squash may even harbor mold on the stem if you look carefully enough. The stem should be dry and corky.
- This is one of those things where if you look at squash and it doesn’t look that big however when you pick it up, it’s heavier than anticipated; that’s what you want. It should be slightly heavy for its size when you pick it up. If it feels light, it’s either past its prime or it’s not ripe yet. Think of a shot put – the size of an 8-pound shot put is a little bigger than say a baseball however it’s still 8 pounds. Its visual appearance is deceptive.
Listen to it
- Tap on the squash. The squash should have a hollow sound.