How To Tell if Yellow Squash Is Bad – Simple Way

Yellow squash with bumpy texture, alongside another with mottled green patches, indicating varying ripeness and potential spoilage.

Yellow squash is cultivated for its health benefits, so if you like to eat one, you must know if your yellow squash is bad. Though they have seeds like most fruits, they are classified as vegetables.

These are rich in manganese, potassium, folate, and vitamins A, C, and B6.

The vegetable belongs to the zucchini and pumpkin family.

When picking or buying, it is easy to tell if the yellow squash is healthy. You can detect it by looking at its skin texture, strange marks, or soft spots. The size and weight of a ripe yellow squash are other features that can help you select a healthy vegetable.

Here is how to tell a bad yellow squash from the healthy one.

Bad Yellow Squash Signs and How To Detect Them

Separating a bad yellow squash from the good one can be tricky. Though commonly confused with the zucchini, this squash can be a nuisance to the user when it goes bad.

Whether you are picking them from your home garden or purchasing them from the next-door farmer or grocer, you need to be able to get the best. A bad yellow squash will translate into spoiling your recipe and salads.

Here is what to look for to avoid including bad yellow squash in your kitchen.

1. Skin Texture

A fully matured yellow squash has a smooth skin texture. However, some may have slightly rough skin that is natural. Overly rough texture may indicate a pest infection or some nutrient deficiency in the garden. Uneven skin might extend to the vegetable flesh, affecting the taste when cooked or eaten raw.

Once you encounter similar signs, avoid the vegetable.

2. Marks and Soft Spots

Care should be taken not to scratch or drop yellow squash when picking or transporting them. The vegetable skin is very fragile. When mishandled, it can get scratched, resulting in soft spots.

Scratches on yellow squash are the entry point for infections during and after picking. When these scratches form, the skin rotates, creating soft spots. This is a clear sign that your yellow squash is bad.

Wrinkles on the outer skin also indicate that the vegetable is unhealthy.

3. Size and Weight of Yellow Squash

Another way to tell if yellow squash is bad is by checking the size and weight. A normal and healthy one should weigh at least 1 pound. Both the straight and crooked neck yellow squash have an average weight of 1 pound.

You also need to look at the size. If the vegetable size falls below 6 inches, it could be bad. Healthy squash sizes range between 6 and 9 inches in length.

Dwarf yellow squashes are rare, but this could be due to infections during the growing period or soil that lacks nutrients.

4. Missing Stem on Yellow Squash

Picking yellow squash is a delicate affair. The stem should not be detached from the vegetable. This is the feeding point; if detached completely, it turns into an infection point since it is soft and tender.

Ensure the squash fresh stem is intact and approximately 4 inches or more. If the stem is missing, the scar may form mold, a sign that the yellow squash is bad.

Mold presence indicates fungus, which eats into the vegetable flesh, making it unfit for consumption.

5. Distorted Squash Shape

A yellow squash’s distorted shape could result from mishandling during storage or transportation. This affects the overall quality of the vegetable. In it is cracked through dropping, the taste becomes sour, which is an indication of infection. The two types of vegetables might have natural shape distortions.

These could be a result of the garden space and elevation. You must inspect them carefully and ensure the distortion is not inflicted by external forces like falling or blunt object impact.

6. Color of a Bad Yellow Squash

A naturally ripe yellow squash should have an even golden yellow color. If the color is not even or has spots, it could indicate that it was picked before maturity and stored to ripen.

It is hard to tell when mature yellow squash is ready for harvesting when it still has the green shade. Induced yellow squash ripening does not yield fresh vegetables.

By the time they are ripe, the fresh taste is eroded. There are two options when you keep the vegetable to ripen; it either ripens or rots, depending on how mature it was before picking.

Yellow squash is highly perishable, and this is made worse if the skin is punctured, scratched, or the top stem is missing.

When the vegetable is picked and left to ripen, it might also go bad. It is crucial to balance the picking period and its shelf life.

How To Store Yellow Squash

Yellow squash has a short shelf life and degrades quickly if not stored properly. Therefore, it’s essential that you learn how to increase its shelf life.

You can store your yellow squash if you follow the list carefully and according to your need: by storing it at room temperature, in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, and avoiding washing the yellow squash.

Furthermore, if you store them at room temperature, yellow squash will remain at its optimum condition for three to four days. At the same time, if you can’t use the yellow squash within three days, don’t store it at room temperature. Instead, put them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh for an extended period.

Can you freeze them? Yes, you can. Yellow squash can be frozen, which has a longer shelf life.

If you have any leftover chopped yellow squash, store it in an airtight container or plastic bag before freezing.


It might be challenging to tell if yellow squash is bad or fresh. However, there are several methods that you can use to pick the bad from the good ones. Knowing how to detect the bad one is a surefire way of keeping your family safe from the effects of consuming bad yellow squash. These methods should be employed before and after picking, transporting, or buying from your favorite grocery store.

Inspecting the veggie before you pay for them or when picking from your garden is always good.

Proper handling of yellow squash is one of the ways to prevent them from going bad. It is pointless to plant these fiber-filled vegetables only to spoil them when they are mature and ready for the kitchen’s chopping board.

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