How To Save Pumpkin Seeds For Eating:
The first thing to do when saving seeds for eating is to make sure they are not spoiled or damaged before storing them. If the seed looks shriveled up, it probably has been damaged. You can use a paper towel to wipe off any damage before placing the seed in a sealed container with airtight lid (like an old t-shirt).
Place the container in your refrigerator until ready to eat.
If you have already eaten the seeds, then place them back into their original container. The seeds will keep for several weeks if stored properly. You can also freeze the seeds for later use.
Just put them in a freezer bag and seal tightly. They will last at least one year in your freezer!
To germinate seeds, place the seeds in a bowl of water and cover with cold tap water. Let sit for 24 hours. Then drain off the excess water and let sit overnight.
Drain again and repeat this process three times until all the seeds have been germinated. Keep in mind that some seeds take longer than others to germinate so don’t worry if it takes more than 3 days for you to get a good batch of seeds!
It is time to plant the pumpkin seeds in your garden after all danger of frost has passed. You can find tips on how to grow pumpkins in our article “How To Grow Pumpkins”.
How To Store Fresh Pumpkin Seeds For Eating:
Wait until after you carve your pumpkin to harvest the seeds (or buy them from the store for less mess). Scrub the seeds off with a stiff brush under running water and drain. Leave the seeds to dry completely (this might take a day or two) before storing in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Place a few paper towels in the bottom of the container to ensure good air circulation.
Alternatively, you can roast your seeds right away. Scalding the seeds (just like scalding milk) is a process for softening the tough seed coat so it is easier to remove. Place the damp seeds in a bowl and cover with boiling water.
Let sit for 5 minutes then drain off the water. The skins should now slip off easily when rubbed between your fingers. Spread the seeds out on a tray or plate to dry completely before storing in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
How To Plant Pumpkin Seeds From A Fresh Pumpkin:
Let the pumpkin dry out until the skin feels kind of firm all over (usually takes about a week or so). Cut the pumpkin open lengthwise and remove all the seeds and gunk from the inside. Place the seeds in a bowl of water and let soak for 24 hours to help them separate from the goo inside.
Drain off the water and place the seeds with a paper towel on a tray or plate. Let dry completely before planting. If you plant the seeds while they are still wet, they might just rot before they have a chance to grow!
Find a good spot in your yard or garden to plant the pumpkin seeds. You will need at least one inch of water per week, so the seed does not dry out and the vines do not get dehydrated and die. Pumpkins grow like weeds and vine all over the place, so choose a good spot away from walkways and other plants that you want to keep.
It is also a good idea to place a stick across the patch area before you plant the pumpkin seeds. This will keep the vines from growing into unwanted areas.
Plant the pumpkin seeds about 2 inches deep and cover with soil. If you have a choice, plant them in soil that has been amended with plenty of compost or well-rotted manure. Pumpkins need lots of nutrients to grow big and healthy!
Water your patch after planting and keep it well-watered (but not drowning) throughout the growing season.
How To Grow Pumpkins In A Container:
Choose a good, large container to grow your pumpkin in such as a half wine barrel or a large wooden box. If you are growing more than one pumpkin in a container, make sure there is at least a foot between the containers. Pumpkins like lots of space just like they have in nature!
Fill the container with a good potting soil (one that has been amended with compost and well-rotted manure). Plant your pumpkin seeds following the instructions in step 3. Water the soil after planting and keep it well-watered (but not drowning) throughout the growing season.
Place the container in a sunny spot in the garden or somewhere in your yard that will get full sun most of the day. Pumpkins need at least eight hours of direct sunlight every day. If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter, such as where it snows, it is best to move the container to a sunnier location for the winter months.
This will help keep the vine growing instead of going dormant due to the cold weather.
Add lots of compost or well-rotted manure to the soil each year as the vine grows to help keep it healthy and growing. Also, be sure to keep the soil consistently watered throughout the growing season.
Harvest your pumpkin when it is ready. When you knock on the skin with your knuckles and it sounds hollow, it is probably ripe. You can cut open the pumpkin to see if the seeds are ready as well.
If the seeds are white and soft, it is time to harvest your pumpkin. If they are black, it is not ready.
How To Tell If A Pumpkin Is Ripe:
There is a simple way to tell if a pumpkin is ripe. Take your thumb and forefinger and give the pumpkin a gentle squeeze near the stem where it attaches.
If the skin gives way and your fingers sink into the pumpkin slightly, then that pumpkin is ripe and ready to harvest. If the skin is tough and you don’t sink in at all, then that pumpkin is not quite ripe. It will continue to ripen, but it may be starting to rot as well.
You can still harvest it and it will ripen inside your home, just cut that pumpkin open as soon as you get it home and those loose seeds can go right into the compost pile.
If the skin yields to the pressure of your fingers, but does not go in at all, then that pumpkin is past ripe. It won’t hurt to harvest it and it will still ripen once it gets inside, but it could start to rot if some of the internal flesh has already started to breakdown.
You can also knock on the side of the pumpkin with your knuckles to get a hollow or solid sound. An almost hollow sound is ok, a very solid sound means it isn’t quite ripe yet. A hollow sound with a bit of a “thud” to it means that pumpkin is at just the right stage for harvesting.
How Many Pumpkins Can I Expect To Grow:
The number of pumpkins you end up with each year will all depend on the variety of pumpkin you grow and how much space you give it to grow. If you have a very small garden or container, you may only get one large pumpkin or a few smaller ones. However, if you grow them in the back yard on a large plot with several other squash plants, you may get several large pumpkins.
With good growing conditions, proper feeding and lots of space to grow, you should be able to get at least one large pumpkin for every five feet of vine growth. You can get even more pumpkins by planting several plants in the same area. However, as pumpkins are a fruit and not a vegetable, they don’t store nearly as long so you will need to use or carve them before winter comes.
How Long Do Pumpkins Last:
It all depends on how you use them. The riper the pumpkin, the longer they will last. Most pumpkins will keep in a cool place for a month or more.
After that, they will still keep for several weeks if kept really cool. How long they actually last really depends on how ripe they are and what you intend to do with them.
Pumpkin flowers are edible and can be prepared in the same way as the rest of the vegetable. They are a good source of niacin and thiamin, but contain small amounts of other nutrients as well.
Pumpkin stems and leaves are also edible, but should only be eaten in survival situations as they contain toxic compounds that can be harmful in large quantities. However, there are three main reasons not to use them as a food source.
They have a very strong taste that most people don’t like. They can cause stomach cramps and diarrhea. They can also cause temporary blindness if the toxins are in concentrated form and you happen to get them in your eyes.
The stems are thick and tough and aren’t usually eaten at all. The flowers, leaves and roots are only used when everything else is gone and starvation sets in.
The seeds, as with all seeds in fruits and vegetables contain small amounts of oil that can be used for cooking, but are very fattening. The main reason people eat pumpkin seeds is because they taste good.
Other than use as a food source, pumpkins have many other uses as well. The shell can be used to make torches or you can carve the pumpkin itself into a lantern by cutting a hole in the top for a candle. The seeds can be strung into a necklace.
The pulp of the pumpkin can be used as a filler for mattresses, pillows and animal bedding. The fibers from the inside can be used to make candles or even weave cloth. The main use for this, however, is to make gunpowder.
The oil from the pumpkin is a key ingredient in gunpowder and they can’t be made without it.
There are several different types of pumpkins that all have slightly different properties. Some are better for cooking, some for carving and some for making gunpowder. No one pumpkin is the same as another and they can’t all be called pumpkins.
That’s why they have their own special name as well.
Gourds are a hard-skinned squash plant that grows several different types of gourds other than the typical pumpkin shape.
Sources & references used in this article:
Verticillium dahliae (Kleb.) Infecting Pumpkin Seed by SN Rampersad – Journal of phytopathology, 2010 – Wiley Online Library
Some physical properties of pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus L.) seeds by E Altuntas – Tarim bilimleri dergisi, 2008 – researchgate.net
Roasting pumpkin seeds and changes in the composition and oxidative stability of cold-pressed oils by M Raczyk, A Siger… – Acta Scientiarum …, 2017 – food.actapol.net
Shelf Life of Cold-Pressed Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) Seed Oil Obtained with a Screw Press by V Vujasinovic, S Djilas, E Dimic, R Romanic… – … of the American Oil …, 2010 – Springer