But when is the best time to harvest? And how does one store a pumpkin? For how long? After a bit of research, it turns out the politics of pumpkins is more complex than you might think from this simple but versatile vegetable.
When to harvest your pumpkins
- Pumpkins should be left on the vine for as long as possible.
- A mature pumpkin will have a hard skin (test your pumpkin: When you thumb the pumpkin, the rind will feel hard and it will sound hollow. Press your nail into the pumpkin's skin; if it resists puncture, it is ripe)
- Often when pumpkins are ready, the vines will be drying back (although this is not true for all regions and varieties)
How to harvest your pumpkins
- cut the pumpkin from the vine so it has 10cm or so of vine still attached to the pumpkin. This will increase storage time.
- use a sharp knife to sever the vine.
- Handle pumpkins very gently or they may bruise.
Ideal pumpkin storage
- Pumpkins should be cured in the sun for about a week to toughen the skin.
- Then, stores in a cool, dry, dark place —anywhere around 10-15 degrees.
- Pumpkins are best stored on a board or piece of cardboard.
- Do not store the fruit on a cement floor, as they tend to rot.
- Do not store the fruit on a good rug in case it was to rot, as it would ruin the rug.
- Make sure that the harvested pumpkins are not touching each other where they are stored.
- In general properly harvested and stored pumpkins will keep for up to 3 months.
Happy pumpkin harvest!