You may notice that pumpkins are practically given away after the Halloween season is over. For just pennies, or even less, you can snag a pumpkin that is still fresh and in very usable shape. But what if you are tired of pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin seeds? Does the pumpkin just go to waste? Well, it doesn’t have to. If you love the flavor of pumpkin and want to enjoy it all winter long, there are ways to preserve them. You can roast pumpkins and make pumpkin puree or you can preserve the whole pumpkin for future use. Take a look below at how to preserve pumpkins during the winter so you can enjoy them even during the off months.
How to Preserve Pumpkins During the Winter
Before you begin, you want to only use pumpkins that are free from rot or softening. If the pumpkin has already begun to deteriorate, you will not be able to stop this process. It is best to find another way to use the pumpkin instead, such as in compost or to feed wildlife.
1. Begin by harvesting pumpkins or buying pumpkins before they have been exposed to frost or a freeze.
2. Only preserve pumpkins that still have their stem on, and a good 2 or more inches of one at that. The stem holds a lot of nutrients that will feed the pumpkin even after it is cut.
3. Wipe the pumpkin dry with a soft cloth. If there is excessive dirt you may rinse it with a mixture of bleach and water. Use just a few tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water. Dry the pumpkins well after rinsing.
4. Now you want to “cure” the pumpkins. To do this, store the pumpkins in a warm and dry area (about 80 degrees will do) for about ten days.
5. When it is time to store the pumpkins, avoid an area that is too hot or too cold. You want something in between and runs an average room temperature. Many people think a refrigerator will do the trick, but it will actually promote rot. Instead, look for a space in your home that is well ventilated and runs about 75 degrees.
6. Place your pumpkins on a surface where air will be able to flow underneath them. A crate or rack is perfect.
As long as your pumpkins stay dry, well ventilated, and at room temperature, they should last you an additional three months. This is long enough to get you through winter. Anytime you wish to use one of the pumpkins, just grab one from your designated spot and use it as you would during the fall season.
There is no need to go all winter missing the fun and flavor of pumpkins. Give these tricks a try and preserve your pumpkins all winter long.