Pumpkins and winter squash are staples of fall. From front door décor to pies, they’re everywhere, especially in your garden.
Make these gourds last by harvesting, curing and storing properly. To improve the storability of your crop, be gentle when harvesting. Fine-tune your methods and follow these instructions.
Storage Tips for Pumpkins and Winter Squash:
- Prune or cut ripe pumpkins and winter squash from the vine with a 2-4 feet of stem attached. The stem protects the top of the fruit from spoilage, so avoid breaking it.
- Wash rind with cool, soapy water. Using a soft cloth, wipe each one with a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.
- Store acorn and sweet potato squash in a cool place after they have been cleaned and dried.
- Cure pumpkins and other winter squash for a week either indoors, near a warm, sunny window, in a heated bathroom or on a sun-drenched, south-facing spot on your deck or patio. Curing encourages rinds to harden, which helps them store longer when moved to a cooler place.
- Store long-term in an unheated basement or cool room where the temperature is around 55°F. Check every two weeks and immediately cook fruit that is soft or discolored.
Tip: Fully mature butternut, buttercup and kabocha squash will keep for months, so cook up your pumpkins and acorn squash first.