Yes, you can definitely buy spaghetti squash right now! Spaghetti squash is a type of winter squash that is in season from early fall through winter. Here are some quick answers about buying spaghetti squash this time of year:
When is spaghetti squash in season?
Spaghetti squash is in season from early September through February. The peak seasons are October through December. This makes fall and winter the best times to buy and enjoy fresh spaghetti squash.
Where can I buy spaghetti squash?
You can find spaghetti squash in most grocery stores and farmers markets during its peak season. Look for spaghetti squash in the produce section alongside other winter squashes like butternut squash, acorn squash, and pumpkin. Farmers markets will also have plenty of fresh spaghetti squash that was just harvested.
What should I look for when buying spaghetti squash?
Choose a spaghetti squash that feels heavy for its size with a hard rind. Avoid any squashes with bruises, soft spots, or cracks. The rind should be a solid tan, yellow, or ivory color. Large squashes are ideal for getting long noodle-like strands when you cook it. Squashes that are 4-6 pounds are a good size. Squashes that are around 2 pounds can work too but may produce slightly shorter strands.
How can I tell if a spaghetti squash is ripe?
A ripe spaghetti squash will feel hard and heavy. The rind should not dent when you press it gently with a finger. An unripe spaghetti squash will have a soft rind that dents easily. The skin color is also a good indicator of ripeness. Ripe squashes will have a solid tan, yellow, or ivory rind while unripe squashes are mostly green.
How long does spaghetti squash last?
An uncut spaghetti squash will usually last 2-3 months if stored properly in a cool, dry place. Once cut, spaghetti squash should be used within 5 days. Leftover cooked spaghetti squash can be frozen or refrigerated for 4-5 days.
How should I store spaghetti squash?
Store whole, uncut spaghetti squashes in a dry, ventilated area like a pantry or cellar around 50-60°F if possible. You can also keep them at room temperature. Just avoid hot, humid areas. Once cut, wrap spaghetti squash tightly in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Cooked and shredded spaghetti squash can be frozen for 2-3 months.
Is spaghetti squash better fresh or frozen?
Fresh spaghetti squash is best in terms of flavor and texture. But frozen spaghetti squash can be a convenient option. If freezing spaghetti squash at home, try to freeze it soon after purchasing and cooking it. Commercially frozen spaghetti squash is typically harvested and frozen at peak ripeness quickly after harvesting. Just be sure to thaw frozen squash in the refrigerator before using.
Can I grow my own spaghetti squash?
Yes! Spaghetti squash can easily be grown at home either from seeds or nursery starter plants. Plant after the last frost date in spring when soil temperatures reach 65°F. Spaghetti squash needs full sun and takes 80-100 days to mature. They can be grown on the ground or trellised. Harvest squashes when the rind is hard and solidly tan or yellowish.
Spaghetti squash is readily available and in season during the fall and winter months. Check major grocery stores, farmers markets, and roadside farm stands for fresh spaghetti squash. Look for squash that are heavy, have a hard rind, and are free of blemishes. Store whole squashes for 2-3 months or cubed squash for 4-5 days in the fridge. Spaghetti squash can also be easily grown at home by planting in spring after the last frost. With its sweet squash flavor and noodle-like strands when cooked, spaghetti squash makes a delicious and healthy low carb alternative to pasta any time of year.
Nutrition Facts of Spaghetti Squash
Here is a nutrition facts comparison between spaghetti squash and actual spaghetti pasta per 1 cup serving:
As you can see, spaghetti squash is significantly lower in calories and carbohydrates compared to regular pasta. It provides more vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium too. The fiber contents are similar.
Spaghetti Squash Recipes
Here are some delicious recipes that feature spaghetti squash:
Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh basil, chopped for garnish
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds.
- Place squash cut-side down on baking sheet and bake 40 minutes until tender.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook 5 minutes until translucent.
- Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in marinara sauce and simmer 10 minutes.
- Use a fork to scrape out spaghetti squash strands into strands. Toss with marinara sauce and season with salt and pepper.
- Top with fresh basil and parmesan before serving.
Spaghetti Squash Chicken Alfredo
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook spaghetti squash same as above recipe until tender.
- In pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shredded chicken and cook 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in heavy cream, parmesan, garlic, and nutmeg. Simmer 5 minutes until thickened.
- Toss spaghetti squash strands with the chicken alfredo sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
The Benefits of Spaghetti Squash
Here are some of the great health benefits spaghetti squash provides:
- Low carb – With only 10 grams net carbs per cup, spaghetti squash can substitute for pasta as a low carb option.
- High fiber – The fibers help improve digestion and heart health.
- Vitamin and mineral rich – Provides vitamins A, B6, and C plus minerals like potassium and manganese.
- Antioxidants – Contains beneficial plant compounds like beta-carotene to reduce inflammation.
- May aid weight loss – The low calories and high fiber keep you feeling full.
The Risks of Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is very nutritious and safe for most people. But here are a few things to be aware of:
- It’s not low carb for everyone – Those with diabetes or carb sensitivity may still need to limit portion sizes.
- Pesticide risks – Buy organic squash when possible or wash thoroughly.
- Food allergy – Allergies to squash are rare but possible.
- Gas and bloating – The high fiber can cause intestinal gas.
Spaghetti squash is readily available in grocery stores and farmers markets during peak fall and winter seasons. Look for squash that feel heavy and have an intact, hard rind. Spaghetti squash can be substituted for regular pasta due to its low carb, high fiber strands. It also provides beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Be aware of potential pesticide risks by buying organic or washing thoroughly before eating. With its sweet flavor and noodle-like texture when cooked, spaghetti squash makes a nutritious and delicious addition to many meals.