How To Grow, Store, and Cook Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash (Cucurbita pepo) is also known as vegetable spaghetti. This a nice alternative to pasta for people who can’t eat wheat or want to reduce their reliance on the grocery store. This squash has fibrous flesh that resembles spaghetti noodles when cooked. It is easy to grow, store, and cook, so why not add this healthy vegetable to your garden and kitchen?
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How to Grow Spaghetti Squash
Planting and growing vegetable spaghetti is pretty easy. Just pay a bit of attention to these details and you’ll have 2 or 3 squash per vine in the autumn.
Sow seeds directly in the garden after all danger of frost, or start 2 or 3 weeks early under lights indoors.
Thin seedlings to 1 or 2 plants per hill.
Mulch squash with clean hay or straw to keep weeds from sprouting and hold moisture in the soil.
Full Sun – 8 hours of sun a day, or more.
Compost – Plant in well-drained soil rich in organic matter and mulch with well-rotted manure or compost.
Water – Provide 1 – 2″ of water a week unless there is adequate rain.
Pests – Squash vine borer, red mites, squash bugs.
Time to Harvest – Approximately 90 days to maturity.
How to Harvest and Store Spaghetti Squash
Harvest – Pick squash when the skin turns golden yellow (some varieties are orange when ripe) and hardens so that your fingernail does not penetrate. Harvest before heavy frost, as it may shorten storage life. Cut the stem about 1″ or 2″ from the fruit.
Carry – Don’t pick up squash by the stem. This may break the stem off and allow bacteria and mold in to rot the interior.
Clean & Cure – Wash squash with a light bleach solution, dry, and store in a well-ventilated spot to cure. Ideal conditions for curing squash are warm (80 degrees Fahrenheit), dry, and out of direct sunlight. Cure for 1.5 to 2 weeks to harden the skin and increase storage life.
Store – Place in a cool (50 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit), dry (60 – 70% humidity), dark area. Do not store squash on a cement floor. Instead, place them on wooden slats or shelves and do not pile on top of each other.
Check – Watch for mold or rotten squash in your storage area. Use damaged squash up quickly so they don’t go bad. Clean the neighboring squash with a mild bleach solution to prevent the spread of mold and bacteria.
Storage Life – When properly stored, spaghetti squash may last up to three or four months.
How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Prepare – Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Add 1/2″ of water to the pan to prevent sticking or grease pan with vegetable oil. Lay squash cut side down.
Bake – 350 degrees Fahrenheit until tender.
Serve – The fibrous flesh of spaghetti squash can be teased into strands with a fork. Dish some onto your plate and top with marinara or Alfredo sauce, butter, and garlic, or other sauce as desired.
Baked Spaghetti Squash with Sauce & Cheese
- 1/2 baked spaghetti squash (medium size)
- 3 cups spaghetti sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 or 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Use a fork to pull spaghetti ‘noodles’ from squash skin, leave flesh in the skin for serving ‘dish’. Place squash in baking dish.
Top squash with spaghetti sauce, cheese, and seasoning.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until hot in center and cheese is melted. Serve hot in the squash skin.
Spaghetti Squash with Garlic
Makes 1 serving.
- 1 cup baked spaghetti squash ‘noodles’
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste
- Grated parmesan or asiago cheese
Saute garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat. Add ‘noodles’ and stir fry until heated through. Place cooked spaghetti squash on a plate, top with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and grated cheese. Serve hot.
Note: This recipe may be increased to serve as many people as you like. Just multiply all ingredients by the number of people you wish to serve.
Learn How to Preserve Garlic!
Spaghetti squash is a versatile vegetable that requires little care. You may grow a few vines each year for a wheat and gluten-free alternative to pasta. Each vine produces 2 or 3 oval squash that will keep up to 4 months in proper storage conditions.
Try your hand at growing and cooking these tasty squash on your own homestead!
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