September 17, 2013
Even in our 80 degree heat and my total commitment to white flip-flops, our local Von’s is packed with pumpkins. It’s not even technically fall for another week. That didn’t stop my still-in-sundresses brood from wanting to buy a couple. Little did my girls know that I had already plucked a bunch from our garden, stashing them away for crisper days. Whether it’s the grocery store or garden that’s suckering you into autumn early, I’ve gathered some tips for making those pumpkins last.
Of course, if you are going to leave them out front by your door this early in September, you might have mushy problem come Halloween. But just like my white denim that I refuse to shelve, pumpkins are resilient little suckers that might find a way to make it through the entire season.
Below are some tips for storing pumpkins, but if you are an eager beaver to slice into one, here’s my tried and true recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds using coconut oil— whether you sprinkle the seeds with salt, cayenne or cinnamon, they’re so good.
I never bothered with any of these tips until I started growing large orange squash of my own. Now my precious pumpkins are stored in peak conditions. We actually harvested ours a few weeks ago and they are now safely stashed in a dark storage area in a basket until we are ready to officially embrace fall.
NPR’s The Salt offered up these tips:
If the pumpkin was healthy when picked, it can last 8-12 weeks.
The best temperature to store them is between 50-55 degrees (Fahrenheit).
It’s important to find one with a firm stem still attached (ain’t it always?). But once you find that firm stem, handle gently—it’s not a good handle for carrying (another good nugget of life wisdom).
And from All About Pumpkins:
Inside a home is too warm for pumpkins, long-term. They warn that you should not place a pumpkin directly on a wood table or on carpet. As it softens it can weep pumpkin juice (doesn’t that sound so sad?).
It’s best to put a piece of cloth or cardboard between your pumpkin and whatever surface you place it.
For really storing these guys, the best way is to lay them on hay and cover them loosely with more hay— which is why when you go to a pumpkin patch you see them all laid out on a bed of hay.