If you live for pasta, are willing to have it for all three meals of the day, you will then like our suggestion to try spaghetti squash for a change. But what is spaghetti squash, you may wonder? Well, spaghetti squash is a bright yellow-orange vegetable that is typically harvested in the fall season.
Known for its excellent nutrition profile, spaghetti squash has a sweet yet crunchy flavor. According to most Americans, this autumn goodie has a taste similar to that of winter squash. This vibrant vegetable also bears a striking resemblance to a pumpkin and a zucchini. Once you cook it, you can peel the insides of the squash in thin, long strands, making it look no different than your everyday spaghetti.
What really makes spaghetti squash different from pasta is the fact that it is way healthier. Compared to spaghetti, a cup of cooked spaghetti squash only contains 42 calories. It is also packed with excellent nutrients including vitamins and minerals.
To be more specific, you can find the following nutrients in one cup of cooked spaghetti squash:
- Carbs – 10 grams
- Fat – 0.5 grams
- Fiber – 2.2 grams
- Protein – 1 gram
- Vitamin C – 9% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6 – 8% of the RDI
- Manganese – 8% of the RDI
- Niacin – 6% of the RDI
- Potassium – 5% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid – 6% of the RDI
In addition to these nutrients, you can also get small quantities of iron, thiamine, magnesium, folate, and calcium by eating spaghetti squash.
The sad fact, especially for spaghetti squash lovers, is that this autumn veggie lasts only from winter to spring. It means that you can’t really enjoy its nutty flavor during the warm summer season. But don’t worry; by preserving spaghetti squash, you can easily make the most of this sweet and earthy vegetable all year long.
Here’s a detailed guide on how you can easily store cooked spaghetti squash right at your home.
The Best Way to Store Cooked Spaghetti Squash
Before you store cooked spaghetti squash, it is essential that you first get this vegetable, prepare it, cook it, and then neatly store it away.
1. Pick Fresh Spaghetti Squash
What makes for an ideal spaghetti squash pick? It is when you choose spaghetti squashes that have thick, hard, and dark outer skin, without having any mold or bruises on them.
You can grow them in your own garden or purchase them from a vegetable and fruit market. Regardless of the place you get them from, it is important for its skin to appear healthy. Otherwise, it won’t take long for your veggie to rot.
2. Prep the Spaghetti Squash
First of all, scrub spaghetti squash with a clean towel or wash it thoroughly with water. Now line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Most people commit the mistake of cutting the spaghetti squash in half and then lengthwise. By doing so, the strands of spaghetti squash become super small, making it not fit to cook.
A better way to cut the squash is by cutting in half across the width. This way, you will get long spaghetti squash noodles. Make sure that you scoop out all the seeds that may be inside the spaghetti squash. If possible, cut the spaghetti squash into 1 or 2 inches of a disc for a better result.
3. Cook the Spaghetti Squash
Most commonly, it is baked in a microwave oven. First, you will need to place freshly cut rings of spaghetti squash on your already prepared baking sheet. Let it roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 to 40 minutes. Bake it until its flesh is soft and tender.
Note that allowing the spaghetti squash to roast will help bring out its original flavor – mild sweet – more vividly and take away all the unnecessary moisture from it. In this way, the spaghetti squash won’t become sticky or mushy at all.
Take the spaghetti squash out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. With the help of a fork, pull out the noodles of the spaghetti squash and transfer it to a bowl.
Another way to cook spaghetti squash is in a crock-pot. All you will need to do is add the squash in a crock-pot. Press it with a fork to make some holes in it. Add in 2 cups of water and let it heat for five to six hours. Once cooked, gently take the spaghetti squash out of the crock-pot with a tong. Cut in half and discard all the seeds from it.
If you don’t have a crock-pot, you can easily boil the spaghetti squash in a large bowl. Simply plop in discs of the spaghetti squash in boiling water and let it boil for 20 to 30 minutes. While this method helps speed up the cooking process of the spaghetti squash, the downside is that it eliminates water-soluble vitamins from this vegetable.
4. Freeze It
You cooked some spaghetti squash and are now left with some leftovers. What should you do? Freeze the spaghetti squash. It is ideal to stuff the cooked spaghetti squash in a plastic freezer bag. But before you put it in your freezer, make sure that you seal the bag properly.
You can also keep your cooked spaghetti squash in a refrigerator for a few hours if you are planning to eat it in a day or two. However, you will need to reheat the squash first, making it ready for consumption.
Why should you refrigerate your spaghetti squash? By refrigerating, you allow the squash to thaw and restore its original texture. It is suggested that you let the squash thaw until it softens but remain as cold as expected.
Now put it on low medium heat for about 5 minutes until it is firm and tender. Remember that stored squash can stay preserved in the freezer for up to 6 to 8 months and it is better to consume it within this time period. Otherwise, it is likely for your spaghetti squash to get moldy and stinky. If that happens, throw it away in the dustbin.
One of the most frequently asked questions related to the cooked spaghetti squash is whether it loses its nutritional value when it is stored in a freezer for weeks or months. We got in touch with experts who told that freezing spaghetti squashes inhibits the deterioration process.
Instead of purchasing spaghetti squash from a vendor or a vegetable market, it is better to grow your own patch. Harvest it as soon as it ripe and freeze it. In this way, you will be able to maintain the nutritional value of this healthy veggie for good.
5. Store in a Dry, Cool Place
If you don’t have enough space in your freezer, you can always store spaghetti squash in a cool, dry space like your basement for a month or two. You will need to cure spaghetti squash first to elongate its storage life.
First and foremost, you will need to leave the spaghetti squash in a warm and sunny space for one or two weeks. This will harden the skin of the squash, protecting it from any sort of damage. Once the outer shell of the squash has hardened up, you can then transfer the squash to a cooler and drier place as mentioned above.
The Best Way to Store Raw Spaghetti Squash
1. Store It in a Cool, Dry Area
The best storage space for your raw squash is a cool, dark, and dry place such as your basement, cabinet, pantry, or closet. Make sure that the storage area you choose has a temperature between 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
By keeping your squash at this temperature, this vegetable can remain edible for up to three months. Perform a weekly check on your squash to ensure that it hasn’t rot.
2. Preserve at Room Temperature
If you live in an area where it is always hot and sunny, finding an ideal storage place for spaghetti squash can be difficult.
If that’s the problem you face or are facing, then don’t worry, you can still store the spaghetti squash at room temperature – around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature will help the squash to easily last for up to 30 to 31 days.
3. Wrap It with Plastic and Refrigerate It
Spaghetti squash can also be stored in a fridge but make sure that you wrap it up tightly with a plastic sheet. This is mostly done when you have already cut a part of the spaghetti squash and need to store the remaining parts.
The sealing of the plastic sheet will ensure that no air ruins the squash. If you are out of a plastic wrap, you can seal the spaghetti squash with a Tupperware container. Since your spaghetti squash is already cut, it would be difficult for it to stay as fresh as a whole squash. You can only keep it in the fridge for as long as five days. Before those five days are over, it is advised to cook or eat the spaghetti squash.
If you see your spaghetti squash deplorably soft, it would be best to throw it away immediately. Another sign of bad spaghetti squash is when it leaks liquid. Leaky squash is a clear indication that the veggie is no longer safe to be eaten in any way and should be discarded.
Follow these amazing tips for storing both cooked and raw spaghetti squash and enjoy the appetizing veggie whenever you want!