How to Store Butternut and other Winter Squash

January 19th, 2013

I recently reorganized my pantry to make more room for canned goods. This left me with an issue in regards to my winter squash.

I can put up, maybe 30 a year in the fall with my current small city lot. I was putty them on shelves but they take up a lot of shelf space, and I would lose a few to rot. Also, as I eat them, the shelf space empties out, but I can’t put anything long term there, and organized it, because the space the squash use is variable and changes constantly. I couldn’t put in a can rack, I’d have to expand it as I ate the squash and then remove it entirely next fall and find someone else for the goods. It wasn’t very efficient.

I think I hit upon an ideal solution for storing this vegetable. Nylon mesh bags hung from rafters in my basement. I merely put eye bolts through my rafters, then filled up a nylon mesh bag (used to store athletic equipment in my case) and hung it from the eye bolt with a carabiner.

Butternut Squash Storage

Great airflow around it, easy to take up or put down as I need more space and the bag (which I hope one day are bags as I get more land to grow more) folds up to almost nothing for storage when not in use, and it doesn’t take up any shelf space. I bought a bag to use, if you had really strong produce bags you might be able to use them but 10 or so squash weigh a lot, and you wouldn’t want it to break and fall. They make small nylon mesh bags, and ones big enough to hold like 10 basketballs. I went with a medium size one, I didn’t want too big because of the weight issue.

In a perfect world I’d put up around 52 squash a year, so I can make risotto once per week, perhaps 104 when my kids get older and eat more. I think this bag system would more than easily handle it, of course I don’t have the land to grow that much yet, but when I do I’ll have more house to hang them up in as well. It would probably work for sweet potatoes too. Basements typically are also slightly cooler so they will aid in preservation and properly stored you can see winter squash last a full year. For curing they could be hunt up elsewhere in a warmer area such as a southern window, outdoors, in a greenhouse, by a fireplace, etc. for a couple weeks before being transitioned to a basement for long term storage.

10 Responses to “How to Store Butternut and other Winter Squash”

  1. Jen  Says:

    If one went to rot, wouldn’t they all go bad if you didn’t catch it quickly? maybe something like this would prevent that if it is a problem?

  2. Administrator  Says:

    I had seen that before Jen, and yes I’m sure it is definitely the best way to store onions. But I don’t think it’d work for something as heavy as squash, I also don’t necessarily like it because you have to cut apart the pantyhose to get the produce out, so you can’t reuse anything. It’d make sense if you have lots of used unwanted pantyhose I guess, but I don’t have that. Conceptually it is the same thing I’ve done though, hanging up in a mesh to maximize air flow.

  3. Ann Marie  Says:

    Great storage idea! You can also buy net kindling sacks in bulk, which should be strong enough for a few squash, and they cost very little.

  4. Theo  Says:

    We have a few plastic tubs full of Waltham Butternut squash on shelves in our laundry room which is rather cool all winter. They are pretty big squash and air does get between each one even though they are piled together. They last well into the late Spring and they are normally eaten by then.

  5. Mike the Gardener  Says:

    I like to make some homemade butternut squash soup and can it. Piping hot home grown butternut squash soup is great this time of the year when the temps are frigid.

  6. Willem  Says:

    Thanks for the great idea. I will definitely be giving this a try.

  7. Sandie Anne  Says:

    That is a great idea. Right now mine are on the basement floor but I don’t have so many. Hopefully next year I will harvest a lot more and I could use your idea. Thanks!

  8. Gineen  Says:

    Thanks for the tip. I have dried garlic using similar bags, no reason it wouldn’t work for winter squash…
    small question- do you still lay it out to cure before storing… let the skin get a little harder once off the vine or do you put it right into the bag?

  9. Rodney  Says:

    Awesome! I just received a squash from a friend last month and it was great. Am amazed at how well they keep! Thanks for posting!

    Any tips on the best way to store Potatoes in the winter months or would this be similar?


  10. Cesar  Says:

    Does it have to be a dark place where u place the buttersquash?

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