Looking After Old Pumpkins

It’s all quiet around here during this time of the year. Hanging out to grow again, and watching what everyone else is up to via the magic of the internet.

I was contemplating on what to write about for this blog post, I have a bunch of ideas written down, but a lot of them only really work during the growing season, then an idea struck me.

Gross Pumpkins

I posted a photo of my rotting miniature pumpkin I currently have (I really need to sort that out) the other day on social media. Then when I caught up with Dennis later in the week I saw some of the pumpkins he had grown.

Some were looking good, others looked like they were some sort of weird sour dough bread made during the COVID-19 lockdown. When in fact they were about as rotten as you can get.

This gave me the idea of talking about saving your pumpkins. I would have covered this earlier in the season if everything hadn’t been canceled. Anyways, here we are.

Why Would you Want to Save your Pumpkins?

There could be different reasons on why you may want to save them. Here’s a couple I can think of:

  • You want to save the pumpkins to eat at a later date
  • Keep the pumpkins to use to display them
  • You run out of time to sort them out, and end up doing it later on

Which Pumpkins Last the Longest?

Different types of pumpkins will last for different amount of times. The smaller and denser they are, they should be able to last for a long time in the right conditions.

Of course the larger they are, the less dense they will be and the more water content they will have inside them.

When things go bad with giant pumpkins, they go bad really fast. And even if your giant pumpkin looks good on the outside, it could be doing some nasty things on the inside. Having that empty cavity inside them can assist the breakdown of the pumpkin rapidly.

OK, that’s all well and good, but what tips are there to prolong the life of a pumpkin?

How to Prolong the Life of Your Pumpkin

Pumpkins, no matter their size would prefer a cool dark place to hang out. Try and work out what the best location for that could be at your place.

In a pantry? In a shed? Who knows, but have a look around.

Now of course you may be limited to the space you have available. This may be a good time to find out who you know that likes pumpkins.

Inspect your pumpkins. If you are able to, check your pumpkins all over. Any spots, breaks in the skin or blemishes could easily turn into a rotting pile of stinky pumpkin before you know it. Make sure to use these ones first.

Make sure they pumpkins aren’t touching and that there is good airflow for where you are storing them. Keeping them off the ground will help, a pallet, cardboard, or something similar will be ideal.

If possible make sure your pumpkin still has a decent stem attached to it. This will lessen the chance of rotting from the top of the pumpkin.

Pathogens on the surface of the pumpkin can be killed with a quick wash with soapy water and dried off. A chlorine bleach solution could also be used. 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.

Check Often

As stated previously pumpkins can go bad quickly, so it is best to keep an eye on them at regular intervals.

Also prepare for the worst case scenario. Make sure wherever you are storing your pumpkin they are on top of something that doesn’t matter if it ends up with pumpkin guts on it.

Also think about containing any liquid that may escape. If checked regularly you should be able to spot the first signs of rotting. If something smells bad, your pumpkin is probably past it’s prime. Be careful picking up a pumpkin you suspect of rotting. The bottom could drop out of it and you will have a stinky mess to clean up.

When to Get the Seeds Out

You really need to get the seeds out well before they turn bad. If in doubt and you are wanting the seeds more than eating the pumpkin. Cut them out and start the seed saving process.

I’ve had miniature pumpkins that stayed in great condition for 6 months, where I then took the seeds out and they were fine.

Hope this helps you in saving your pumpkins, whatever your end use for them may be.

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