Whether you’ve got pumpkin seeds on hand from a carved jack o’ lantern or a garden pumpkin, you may wish to save and store the seeds for planting next spring. Read on for tips on the best way to store pumpkin seeds.
Saving Pumpkin Seeds
Remove the stringy pulp and seeds from the pumpkin’s interior and place them in a kitchen colander.
Hold the colander in the sink and run water over the seeds. Then, separate the seeds from the pulp with your fingers rinsing them with water as you go. Try to remove as much pumpkin flesh as you can.
When you’ve rounded up a big batch of seeds, sort them to find the largest ones. The larger the seed, the better chance it will sprout and grow when planted. As a rule of thumb save three times more seed than the number of pumpkin plants you wish to have.
Place your selected seeds on a paper towel or wax paper and place them in a cool, shaded spot to dry overnight.
The following day, line a baking sheet with wax paper and spread the seeds on the towel in a single layer. Place the baking sheet in a cool, dry spot for a minimum of 4 weeks.
When the seeds are completely dry, discard any that show signs of mold or mildew. Store the remaining seeds in a paper envelope. With a pen, write the type of seed inside on the front.
Store Pumpkin Seeds
After cleaning, sorting, and drying your seeds store them in a cool, dry spot. One of the best locations to save pumpkin seeds is in the refrigerator. Follow these steps to store pumpkin seeds in your fridge properly.
- Store pumpkin seeds in a disposable plastic container. Ziploc® containers work well.
- Poke several holes in the lid, as this will inhibit water condensation from forming inside the container.
- Place your envelope in the plastic container and store it at the back of the fridge.
- Your seeds will be ready for planting when spring arrives. If stored properly, your pumpkin seeds can last for several years.
While saving your seeds, you’ll have plenty leftover. Toast them in the oven for a tasty snack using our favorite recipe.
Picking Pumpkins- A Few Tips
- When the pumpkin’s color is to your liking, harvest it. Once you have picked the pumpkin, the color will not change. For a vibrant orange hue, leave the pumpkin on the vine longer.
- A pumpkin is ready to be picked when the stem develops a crack, and the skin feels hard, similar to a shell. Press a fingernail to the pumpkin’s skin. Your nail shouldn’t be able to penetrate the surface.
- The pumpkin’s stem has tiny needles which can be sharp. When harvesting, wear garden gloves and use a sharp kitchen knife to cut the pumpkin from the vine, leaving a 4-inch stem.
- Don’t tote your treasure by the stem as it may not be able to support the pumpkin’s weight. Instead, hold it at the bottom being careful to avoid bumps and bruises.
- Set your freshly harvested pumpkin in the sun, for approximately ten days to cure. The curing process hardens the skin, forming a barrier that inhibits moisture loss. If the weatherman predicts a frost, cover the pumpkin with a few handfuls of hay or a plastic tarp.
- Don’t stack pumpkins in storage. Bruising and rot can occur.
- Pumpkins stored in a cool, dry location with temps around 50 to 60 degrees will stay fresh for approximately six months.
- If you find signs of decay or mold on a pumpkin, throw it away. Or, toss it in the compost pile.
- If you don’t want to cut the pumpkins from the vine, let the vine die back. Then harvest pumpkins as you need them.
Making sure you store pumpkin seeds properly for next fall will save you both time and money. You won’t have to spend time looking for pumpkins or purchasing pumpkins as they’ll be right in your backyard ready for you to use in the new fall season. Using the pumpkin picking tips above will also ensure you pick your pumpkin at its prime and have the best pumpkin of the season.
Apply Wet & Forget Outdoor on your carved pumpkins to keep them mold and mildew free! Get the best application tips here.
For more tips on picking pumpkins, check out our blog post here.