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Growing pumpkins can take up a lot of garden area, but if you have the room, they are definitely worth growing. After harvest, here’s how to store pumpkins and winter squash.
Since growing pumpkins and winter squash is easy and often lead to a huge harvest, it’s important to know how to ensure that your harvest doesn’t go to waste.
Being able to store food for winter is one of the
biggest benefits of growing your own food
That’s why I want to make sure you know how to store your veggies for long term use, more specifically your pumpkins and winter squash.
I’ll lend some tips and advice to make certain you’re able to store and use your pumpkins and winter squash all year round.
Then, use them for baking pies like this delicious Fireball Pumpkin Pie!
How to Store Pumpkins and Winter Squash
When to Harvest Pumpkins and Winter Squash
You’ll harvest your pumpkins and winter squash when they have ripened fully and have a hard rind.
Winter squash is ready to harvest when the skin has started to dull and a yellow spot where the squash sat on the ground as well as a dry stem.
Pumpkins are ready to harvest when they have similar appearances but must always be cut from the vine with their stem intact.
If your pumpkin loses the stem before you’re ready to store the pumpkins, they will start to decay quickly.
Cure the Pumpkin and Winter Squash
As soon as you’ve harvested your pumpkins and winter squash you’ll need to store them in a dry and airy space for 7-10 days.
This will help harden the skin and help immature pumpkins and winter squash reach true maturity level for use and storage.
Best Environment for Storage
Since pumpkins and winter squash can deteriorate quickly, you must store them in a location that’s well-ventilated, dry and remains a cool temperature of 50-55 degrees F which is 10 – 13C.
You may need to store your food in more than one area of your home. We have a cold room where we store much of our home grown food, but the ideal temperature for that room is lower than what squash can take.
So we need to store our squash in a different spot, one that is warmer than the cold room.
Check the humidity level in storage areas in your home so that the humidity stays no more than 75% to ensure that your pumpkins and winter squash may be stored safely.
Make Shelving and Remove Ripe Fruit
Pumpkins and winter squash cannot be stored on concrete floors. You should make or buy heavy duty shelving to store your pumpkins and winter squash for the winter season.
At the very least, be sure to store them on something, even if it is a cardboard box. Do NOT set them on a concrete floor.
You may be able to store some of the pumpkins and squash on top of each other, rotating them frequently.
Do not store ripe fruit such as apples or pears near your pumpkins and winter squash as that will deteriorate the health of your harvest.
How Long can you Store Winter Squash?
Lastly, you may want to know how long you can store winter squash and pumpkins.
As long as you store your harvest in the appropriate location and conditions referenced above, you can rest easy knowing that winter squash and pumpkins can last for two to six months given the right storage environment.
Hopefully, these tips will help you store enough for healthy eating during the winter season.
Having ample veggies on hand to feed your family is an excellent way to save money and start learning to live off the land more often.
More Pumpkin Recipes and Tips:
This Fireball Pumpkin Pie Recipe is one of our Fall Favourites!
How to Make your own Home Made Pumpkin Puree – a great way to use pumpkins after Halloween
This Pumpkin Banana Cranberry Loaf is wonderful alongside a hot cup of coffee on a Fall afternoon