Storage of pumpkins after harvest: learning how to store pumpkins

Growing pumpkins is fun for the whole family. When it’s time to harvest the fruit, pay special attention to the condition of the pumpkins to make sure it’s the right time. Harvesting pumpkins at the right time increases their shelf life. Let’s learn how to store pumpkins once they are harvested.

Pumpkin harvest information

Pumpkins last longer if you harvest them when they reach their mature color and the rind is hard. Use the seed packet to get an idea of the color of the variety at maturity. Wait until the rind of the pumpkin loses its luster and is hard enough that you cannot scratch it with your fingernail. The curly tendrils on the side of the vine near the pumpkin will turn brown and die when fully mature, although in some cases they may continue to ripen the vine. Cut the stem with a sharp knife, leaving 3 or 4 cm of stem attached to the pumpkin.

Harvest all pumpkins before the first frosts. You can also harvest

the fruit and take care of it indoors if bad weather makes the harvest susceptible to rot on the vine. Early frosts and cold rains require an early harvest. If you have to harvest them earlier than you wish, take care of them for 10 days in an area where the temperature is between 80 and 85 F. (27-29 C.). If you have too many pumpkins to care for indoors, try placing straw underneath so that they do not come into contact with wet soil. Do a scratch test with your nail to decide when they are ready to be stored.

The piece of stem left in the pumpkin looks like a large handle, but the weight of the pumpkin can cause the stem to break and damage the pumpkin. Instead, transport pumpkins in a wheelbarrow or cart. Align the cart with straw or other soft materials to prevent damage if it bounces.

How to store pumpkins

Wash and dry the pumpkins thoroughly, then clean them with a weak bleach solution to prevent them from rotting. Prepare the bleach solution by adding 2 tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. The pumpkins are now ready for storage.

Dry and dark places with temperatures between 50 and 60 F. (10-16 C.) make pumpkin storage areas ideal locations. Pumpkins stored at higher temperatures become hard and stringy, and can be damaged by cold at lower temperatures.

Place pumpkins in a single layer on hay bales, cardboard or wooden shelves. If you wish, you can hang them in net bags. Storing pumpkins in concrete leads to rotting. Properly stored pumpkins keep for at least three months and can last up to seven months.

Check pumpkins occasionally for soft spots or other signs of rot. Discard rotten pumpkins or cut them up and add them to the compost pile. Clean pumpkins that have been in contact with them with a mild bleach solution.

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