One of the benefits of saving seed from winter squash is that you can still eat the flesh of the squash whereas with summer squash the flesh is no longer edible when the seeds are finally mature.
When it comes to harvesting winter squash you'll want to make sure that the vines connected to the squash have begun to die back and the stem has begun to whither and dry up. That is a good indication that the squash is nearing maturity. Of course you can eat them before this stage, but the seeds will not be ready if taken too early.
Once you have cut the squash from the vines you'll want to leave them in a warm location for a few weeks to cure. The skins will become very hard and you may notice some strange rough patches on the squash. But don't worry about the rough patches they are simply the sugary starch of the squash seeping through the surface.
Now you have two options you can either store them for the winter and harvest the seeds as you cook with them or you can go ahead harvest the seeds and preserve the flesh for the freezer.
We went ahead and harvested one after the curing process was over in order to show you the steps, but we currently have many squashes in our home that we will harvest seed from later on and you can also do this as well.
The first thing you'll want to do is skin the squash if you plan on eating it after you have removed the seeds. Then you'll want to cut the squash in half vertically, but be careful doing this because you may slice through the seeds. The truly best way to open the squash is to score the squash vertically enough where you can pry it open that way the seeds will less likely be damaged.
Once you have opened the squash you can begin the process of removing the seeds and laying them to the side. You'll need to clean them and one of the best ways to do this is to use an old rag and gently rub the squash in the rag and it helps to remove the flesh from the seeds.
Then after the seeds are good and clean you can place them in a drafty area to fully dry. We like to use screens much like window screens to dry them on. This allows for air flow around the seeds to help them dry properly.
After we are confident they are dry enough for storage we remove them and place them into containers for further use.
The process is very easy and can also be applied with summer squash, however summer squash is best eaten when young and tender so with that in mind you'll want to save just a few summer squash on the vine for seeds rather than many since the quality deteriorates over time.
Well that pretty much sums up seed saving winter squash, but as always if you have any questions feel free to ask and if you would like to order some winter squash seeds please visit our site below,
Thanks and God Bless