My Butternut Squash Is White Inside: Is It Safe To Eat?

Butternut squashes are a favorite winter vegetable in many homes, but it can be pretty hard to tell if they’ve gone bad because they have such tough outer skins. If you cut into one and find white liquid oozing out, you might be alarmed.

Usually, drops of white liquid in a butternut squash are perfectly edible and nothing to worry about. They are a combination of sugars and starches mixing together. However, sometimes, butternut squashes will develop white mold inside them, and this is a sign that the flesh of the vegetable is no longer okay to eat.

We’re going to look at the differences between sugar starch liquid and white mold, and explain how you can tell if a butternut squash is still good to eat.

What Is The White Stuff Inside A Butternut Squash?

butternut squash

On the whole, white stuff inside your butternut squash will be one of two things:

  • A mix between sugars and milky starches creates a white liquid that leaks around inside the vegetable. This is fine to eat.
  • The growth of mold on the inside of the flesh, usually around an area that has been damaged. This is not safe to eat.

It’s important to check which you’re seeing because eating a moldy butternut squash could give you food poisoning, or at least stomach pain. Do not eat a butternut squash if you aren’t sure about it, especially if the skin of the vegetable has been damaged, or if you’ve been storing the squash for a long time.

Butternut squash skins are usually very good at keeping the vegetable fresh, because the skins are waterproof and tough. This is partly why butternut squashes are so tricky to peel and difficult to deal with. However, if the skin gets damaged or mold manages to get inside through a fault somewhere, the inside of the flesh can go bad.

What Is The Carbohydrate Liquid?

Butternut squashes are high in both carbohydrates and sugars, which is partly why they have a great flavor. The two are found in abundance in the vegetable’s cells, and when they mix, they often form a white liquid.

This will ooze through any gaps inside the vegetable, which is why you will see them when you cut it open. The pressure you put on the squash when you are holding it still to cut it will often cause them to run together and form a more obvious pool of liquid than was there before you put pressure on the squash.

If you poke this liquid, it should feel sticky, because it has a lot of sugars in it. You can choose to wash it off if you prefer, but there is no particular need to, as it will enhance the taste of the vegetable. If you do want to wash it off, cut the squash up into the size you desire, and then rinse the pieces thoroughly under cold water.

If you don’t want to wash it off, simply cook the squash as you normally would, and enjoy it. This milky fluid is often a sign that you have a particularly sweet and starchy vegetable, so it should taste even better than usual.

What Causes Mold?

Mold doesn’t usually grow inside a butternut squash until it has been cut open, because it can’t get through the waterproof skin to access the soft flesh inside. The skin is very resistant to mold and will take a long time to go off. However, if the skin has been damaged in any areas, mold can get in, and will start to attack the flesh.

This can cause a white substance to grow inside the butternut squash, which you may see when you cut it open. This will often appear near the edges, as even the inner flesh of a squash is dense and hard for the mold to travel to. Mold tends to have a fluffy appearance, with blurred edges.

You can usually determine if you’re seeing mold by rubbing it with your finger. The spores will likely come off and smear over your skin, and they won’t be wet like the carbohydrate liquid. If your squash has got a moldy area that is clearly due to damage, you may be able to simply cut that area off and use the rest of the vegetable.

However, if the squash has gone soft and mushy and has a strange or sour smell, you will need to throw it away, as this indicates that it has started to rot. Sniff the inside of the cut squash carefully to determine whether it is still good to eat, especially if you see any sign of white mold on the edges of the flesh.

How Else Can You Tell If Your Squash Has Gone Off?

Besides the scent, there are a few other signs to look out for. The biggest is the texture of the squash’s flesh. How firm the flesh is a key indicator of how fresh it is. The flesh should be taut, without mushy or shriveled spots, and it should feel moist but not slimy. Sliminess or stickiness indicates rotting.

Furthermore, any dark areas scattered across the flesh indicate that it has started to decay. If they are very localized and the rest of the flesh seems firm and smells good, you can cut them out, but be careful, because they indicate that the whole vegetable is beginning to go off.

The older your butternut squash is, the more carefully you need to check for signs of spoilage. You should also be wary of any squashes that have damaged skins, as these are much more vulnerable to mold and bacteria.

Conclusion

A butternut squash that has a white liquid inside it may be perfectly safe to consume because this is just a mixture of the sugars and starches. However, if the squash has fluffy white mold in any parts of its flesh, you need to check whether the rest is okay, and get rid of the moldy part before you consider cooking it.

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for over five years! I've set up this blog because I'm passionate about veganism and living a more spiritually fulfilling life where I'm more in tune with nature. Hopefully, I can use Vegan Foundry as a channel to help you out on your own journey!