What you see: Corky, bumpy, light brown stuff on the surface of the squash. It may look like dirt, but it won’t wash off.
What it is: Healed over areas; they could be responding to anything from an infection or a wound or too much water.
Eat or toss? Eat! This only affects the outside of the squash.
Can you eat a squash with “dirt” stuck to it?
Have you ever tried to scrub a squash like this only to find that the “dirt” is attached? In fact, the dry stuff that looks like caked-on dirt is actually more like a permanent scab—something the squash produced to heal up a wound. You might also call these squash “warts.”
In this case the lines on the butternut squash could be healed injuries from some rough collisions with sticks or even grit in the field. The bigger rough spots might represent areas where the squash fought off infection, but still aren’t anything to worry about as it would have been a plant disease (not a human disease) and the issue is probably just on the surface, not deep in the squash.
Too-much water can also lead squash to form bumpy, dirt-like warts. The plant absorbs water faster than it can be used, causing cells to enlarge and burst, and then get sealed over with that wound-healing, dirt-like stuff. Insect nibbles can also lead to the wound-healing that results in a scarred, bumpy squash. For a bunch of great images, check out this page from Michigan State University.
- Penelope Perkins-Veazie. Horticulture professor. North Carolina State University.
- What are these bumps on my vegetables? Ron Goldy. December 3, 2014. Michigan State University Extension.