Skip to Content

How to Tell When Spaghetti Squash Is Ripe (And How to Ripen After Picking)

How to Tell When Spaghetti Squash Is Ripe (And How to Ripen After Picking)

Share this post:

Disclaimer: Some links found on this page might be affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I might earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The warmer months of the year are typically met with the most fanfare. There is more spending time outside, less having to bundle yourself up to go outside, and also the harvesting of most fruits, vegetables, and flowers that we love so much.

One of those vegetables is spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is enjoyed by millions of people every single year. The thing about it is that you can also grow it yourself. The key is knowing when it is ripe and what you can do to ripen it after picking it so that you can enjoy it to the utmost.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that warmth and sunlight are a must. Even if you use a super plant growth food, it won’t do a lick of good without proper sunlight and warmth. Most plants need them to survive and thrive and spaghetti squash is no different.

Creating a great growth space is entirely up to you. It can be done indoors within view of a window that brings in the proper sunlight or it can be done through a greenhouse that you have had built or installed.

From there, it is just about letting your fruits and vegetables take in all of the natural nutrients that they need to grow and ripen to completion.

Before even harvesting your spaghetti squash, you first have to determine if it is ripe and has to be cut from the vine. For the best possible spaghetti squash, it is best if the ripening of the vegetable takes place on the vine itself.

Still, if the first heavy frost of winter comes in a little earlier than it is expected, it is possible to take the spaghetti squash off of the vine and allow it to continue ripening, which we will cover later on in this guide.

How to Determine the Ripeness of Spaghetti Squash

White Spaghetti Squash

In order to truly harvest spaghetti squash in a way that maximizes the ripeness, it is important to learn how to determine that ripeness level.

Determining whether or not the spaghetti squash is ripe ensures that it is the most enjoyable possible squash. Anything less than ripe or over-ripened can make it mushy and unpleasant and no one wants that.

When the squash has turned to a golden yellow or even a dark yellowish color, that is usually the sign that it is ready to be picked. Anything different means that it may not be ready to eat or may be past the point of ripeness where it needs to be discarded.

Also of note is the consistency and texture of the skin of the spaghetti squash. If it is properly ripe, the skin of the squash will be both hard and very thick in nature. There is a test that can be performed for this.

To test the ripeness of the spaghetti squash, use your fingernail to poke at the exterior of the squash. If it is properly ripe, your nail won’t penetrate the squash in any way, shape, or form. Not only that, but there will be no soft spots on the squash anywhere along its surface.

Another sign that the spaghetti squash has ripened is that the vine will either begin to or have completely shriveled up, died, and turned to a brownish color. If you haven’t picked the spaghetti squash at this point, this is the clearest indication that the vegetable is ready to be plucked from the vine.

Can the Squash Ripen Off of the Vine?

Spaghetti Squash Off The Vine

When it comes to the ripening of spaghetti squash, one of the most common questions that gets asked is in regards to ripening of winter squash. That question is “will spaghetti squash ripen off of the vine?”

The immediate answer to that is that there is no immediate answer. It really depends on how mature the squash is. If, when you are able to knock on the squash, it feels and sounds somewhat solid, then you are probably good to pick it.

If it is still soft at this point, then it almost certainly will not ripen off the vine.

How to Ripen Spaghetti Squash After Picking

If the end of the growing season approaches (this is generally in the late September, even early October time period) and you still have unripened spaghetti squash that you determine needs ripening off of the vine, it can absolutely be done.

There is no need to fear about losing that green squash that has not fully ripened yet so make certain that you do not throw it away. It can be a huge waste of potentially good squash that just needed a little extra love to bring to full ripening.

Instead of throwing away that squash that still needs ripening when the end of the growing season has arrived, there are a few things that you can do. The first is to harvest all of the green, unripened spaghetti squash that you have grown.

Cut all of those unripened squash from the vine and don’t forget to leave a couple of inches of the vine intact while doing so. When you have done these things, rinse off the squash and allow them time to dry properly.

From here, it is all about finding a warm spot for the squash to sit and ripen. For those who grow their own fruits and vegetables on the regular, they will likely have some sort of greenhouse that they can trust with the safety and growth of their plants.

Spaghetti Squash On A Table

Finding a warm, sunny spot in the colder months of the year can be something of a task and the spaghetti squash needs a place where they can grow in peace without losing that sunlight and warmth. This is important because squash cannot ripen without a proper amount of sunlight to aid in the process.

It is also important to note that the green side of the spaghetti squash needs to get the most sunlight in order for it to properly ripen. And really, that is all you need to do to ensure that the spaghetti squash ripens the way that it should, resulting in that golden yellow color that we all strive for when growing spaghetti squash.

Final Thoughts

Generally speaking, growing any kind of fruit or vegetable comes down to having a warm, sunlit space in which to grow. In the summertime, this is easy to do as those are the warmest days of the year with the most sunlight.

In the winter, when most fruits or vegetables have already ripened and stopped growing, it is important to have a space for them where they can continue to ripen until they are ready to be picked. Just because the first frost of the year has approached does not mean that the ripening process has to end.

With a greenhouse on your property or a nice, sunny spot in your home, you can keep those spaghetti squash ripening until they have reached the proper color and texture. Then they are ready to be consumed and enjoyed the way that nature intended.

Share this post:

Linda Waller

Saturday 26th of August 2023

This is my first year growing spaghetti squash. I made the mistake of cutting my first one off the vine simply because of size.I was not aware that it should be left on the vine until it is the typical yellow color. It is hard when tapped but not the typical yellow color. It is a pale yellowish white How long does it typically take to ripen off the vine when sitting in a south facing window?

Lisa Bridenstine

Sunday 27th of August 2023

Hi Linda, It shouldn't take too long to ripen. You may want to rotate it occasionally until it turns a more golden color.

Happy Planting! Lisa