Garden-fresh offers are one step away
Sign Up & Get $5 Off

Opt-in to mobile texts to receive money-saving, project-inspiring alerts. Redeemed in stores only.

Just For You

Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Harvest the Taste of Fall to Keep for Winter

Emmaline Harvey
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Difficulty: Beginner
Duration: 1 hour


Fall Taste - ST - 580x330

Whether you grow them for looks or flavor, pumpkins, squash and gourds will keep for months when properly stored.

Make the most of the last warm days of the season to improve the flavor of these vegetables. Just be sure to bring them indoors before your first hard freeze.

Harvest and Store Pumpkins, Winter Squash and Gourds:

  1. Judge the ripeness. The skin will be hard when ripe. Use a fingernail and gently try to puncture the skin. If the skin dents but does not puncture, the pumpkin is ready to pick. Also look for a color change at full ripeness: The stem attached to the fruit turns from green to brown and hardens.
  2. Cut — do not pull — fruits from the vine with a 2” stub of stem. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
  3. Check for signs of mold or spoilage, and use imperfect ones for cooking right away.
  4. Move to a cool, dry place such as the basement or garage.
  5. Acorn squash and pumpkins should be used first, followed by winter squash. Butternut squash can keep for up to a year when kept cool and dry.
  6. Check weekly for signs of spoilage, which often begins at the base of the stem. Promptly process fruits that show mold or soft spots.

Tip: Another way to store pumpkins and winter squash is to cut them into pieces, roast until soft, and then puree before freezing in freezer-safe containers.

Product Checklist:

Got questions about this article or any other garden topic? Go here now to post your gardening ideas, questions, kudos or complaints. We have gardening experts standing by to help you!