Morning all. I was anxiously looking at my butternut squash plants on the allotment yesterday and wondering when I should harvest them. The fruit are a good size but have very slight striping on them still. The ones you see in the shop look practically beige. Does anyone know when I should harvest them? I don't want them to rot in the rain we're getting and curing in the sun seems almost out of the question! Thanks
As long as you harvest them before the first frost they can be left out, but if they get any frost at all they won't keep. However, if the leaves are already dieing you may as well harvest them now. They will keep for several months and will continue to ripen if left on a windowsill etc. When you cut them from the plant, leave a piece of stem about 2 inches long on the squash as that helps to prevent them rotting from the stem end while in storage.
our supermarket sellsr variety which has stripes as well as the beige ones. It may be about the variety you have
I always understood that you wait until all the plant has died off, leaving the squash plain to see. It won't grow anymore or ripen in colder weather. Make sure you give the growing fruit a 'dry bed' so it doesn't lie in mud and rot. I use folded cardboard rather than more traditional straw etc.
I leave them on my unheated conservatory windowsills and they last for months. Anywhere cool, dry and frost-free should be fine though. Do inspect them regularly - any hint of softness may indicate they are starting to go off inside but if you catch them early soft parts can be cut out before cooking (I absolutely love them cut into chunks, seasoned with salt, black pepper, olive oil and roasted!)