How to tell when Acorn Squash Is Ripe

Last updated: 02/09/21

Back in the days when I was still a newbie in gardening, I decided to plant squash for the first time.

I did not know when mine was ripe.

Through trial and error and lots of research, I can say I’ve cracked the code on how to tell when an acorn squash is ripe. 

You will no doubt learn from all my mistakes to ensure you pick it at the right time.

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When Are Acorn Squash Ripe To Pick?

Planting season is now over and done with and after grooming it for so long, it’s now time for the harvesting of your tasty vegetable.

But you’re not sure how to tell when if your ribbed acorn squash is ripe. 

Acorn Squash is ripe enough to pick in about 75-90 days if it has at least 6 hours of sun per day.  It may take another 1-2 weeks longer if gets less than 6-7 hours of sunlight.

It is of the utmost importance that you only harvest it after you’ve thoroughly examined it because harvesting an unripe one would produce a fruit that is completely bland in taste.

There are several ways to on how to tell when it is ready to harvest.


One of the easiest ways of telling when it is ripe is through the color.

A ripe one turns dark green and the part of the squash that has been in contact with the ground would have a notable yellow patch.

An unripe one has a shiny skin appearance while a ripe winter squash would have more of a dull look to it.

Skin Texture

Skin texture or squash fruit texture is also a great tell to determine when it is ripe.

The skin texture of an immature acorn squash would be soft but the skin or rind of a nice and ripe one would be hard.

acorn squash how to know when it is ripe

A fun way to test for an unripe acorn squash is by using your fingernail to try and make a mark on the squash skin.

If you find it difficult to make a noticeable mark in the tough skin, then the fruit is ripe.


If your acorn squash is ripe, you’ll find that some inches of stem connected to the fruit will become brown and withered.  Usually it is the last inch of stem that is connected to the fruit.

That’s how you’ll know it’s harvesting time for this variety.


On average, it takes acorn squash about 75-100 days to get ripe. This is after it has past the seedling transplant stage.  You can tack on another week or 2 if you want to calculate growing it from seed.

If all else fails, you can just set a reminder on your calendar 75-100 days or roughly 3 months after you’ve planted your squash seeds.  The seed package usually has this same time period to help in case you forget.

Best Way To Harvest Acorn Squash

When harvesting acorn squash, you should try not to allow the excitement get to you.

With a steady hand, you’re going to cut at least 5cm of the vine/stem while it is still connected to it.

This technique would help ensure that it retains moisture.

An extra tip you should take note of is, if you have no intention of eating yours immediately, then the best thing to do is to give it time to harden some more by leaving it attached to the vine.

However, it is prone to frost so make sure to harvest your acorn squash before heavy frost fully sets in your location.

Acorn Squash Curing And Storage Tips

A less commonly known fact about the acorn squash plant is that it’s actually one of the many varieties of the winter squash family. 

Like most winter squashes, it’s manner of storage is entirely different from that of their seasonally different cousins, summer squashes.

After harvesting, it is important you store your squash harvest properly.  This way it can last longer and maintain its quality during storage.

Here are some important information to take note of while storing it.

acorn squash ripe or not?


Ideally, it stores best at a relative humidity of 50 – 70%.  You alos want to ensure that the squash has good ventilation and air flow to help keep for longer periods.


The perfect temperature for storing it is between 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit ( 10-13°c).  You also want to ensure that the storage location is in a cool and dark place

Good locations include a basement, pantry, or warmer area of a root cellar.


Your acorn squash fruit should be stored in a cool and dry place

That being said,you should always avoid piling up your harvested acorn squash.

Instead, there should be enough space between them while you spread them out in single rows

This helps to avoid bruising which significantly lowers the quality of your acorn squash.

And while cooking and refrigerating is also a great way of storing acorn squash, if you really want to prolong your acorn squash life span, then freezing is a better option.

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Final Thoughts

In this article, you got to learn everything you needed to know about harvesting and storing it. You probably cant wait for harvest season to arrive so that you can practice all that you have learned.

Harvesting it might have seemed like a daunting task at the beginning.  Hopefully your fears have been put to rest and you have enough information to tackle this task head on.

Let us know how harvesting and storing your squash goes in the comment section.

Related Questions 

Will acorn squash ripen after being picked?

If it is picked prematurely, there is absolutely no chance of it getting ripe while it is being stored no matter how long you wait.

This is why it is so important to follow the guidelines and wait for the fruit to be ripe before picking.

Is an acorn squash still good when it turns orange?

As long as there are no soft spots on the skin or body of it, then it is probably going to still be good even though it is orange color.

The presence of molds on the flesh of the squash is also a strong indicator. If there is no mold, then your squash is good. 

Is Acorn Squash supposed to be hard?

A ripe squash is supposed to be hard and the harder it gets the more ripe it becomes 

The presence of a soft spot is a good indicator that it has already gone bad.

Green Thumb Gardener
acorn squash checking guide
Jeremy Starke

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