How to store pumpkin: tips and tricks to keep your pumpkins fresh for longer
Pumpkin is a type of winter squash that can be preserved in different ways depending on the purpose and the desired form. There are three main methods of preserving pumpkin: freezing, canning, and drying.
Pumpkins are versatile vegetables that can be used for soups, pies, cakes, breads, and more. They are also rich in vitamin A, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. However, pumpkins can be quite large and sometimes you may not be able to use them all at once. How can you store pumpkin so that it lasts longer and doesn't go to waste? Here are some tips and tricks to help you store pumpkin properly.
How to store whole pumpkins
Whole pumpkins can last for several months if stored in the right conditions. Here are some steps to follow:
choose pumpkins that are ripe, firm, and free of cracks, bruises, or soft spots. The stem should be dry and hard, not green or moist;
wash the pumpkins with a mild soap and water solution to remove any dirt and bacteria. Rinse and dry them well;
Store the pumpkins in a cool, dry, and dark place, such as a garage, basement, or cellar. The ideal temperature is between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius, and the humidity is between 50 and 70 percent;
place the pumpkins on a piece of cardboard, hay, or wood, and make sure they don't touch each other. This will prevent rotting and allow air circulation;
check the pumpkins regularly and remove any that show signs of decay, such as mold, softness, or shriveling.
How to store cut pumpkins
Cut pumpkins have a shorter shelf life than whole pumpkins, but they can still be stored for several days or weeks if handled properly. Here are some options:
wrap the cut pumpkin tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it. This will prevent moisture loss and bacterial growth. Cut pumpkin can last for up to a week in the fridge;
cut the pumpkin into cubes and freeze them in a freezer bag or container. This will preserve the flavor and texture of the pumpkin. Frozen pumpkin can last for up to a year in the freezer;
cook the pumpkin and puree it in a blender or food processor. You can add some water, broth, or milk to adjust the consistency. Store the puree in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Refrigerated puree can last for up to a week, while frozen puree can last for up to six months.
How to use stored pumpkins
Stored pumpkins can be used for various recipes, such as:
pumpkin soup: heat some oil in a large pot and sauté some onion, garlic, ginger, and spices of your choice. Add some vegetable or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the pumpkin cubes or puree and simmer until tender. Blend the soup until smooth and season with salt, pepper, and cream if desired. Garnish with some pumpkin seeds, fresh herbs, or croutons;
pumpkin pie: preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 9-inch pie dish. In a large bowl, whisk some eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour the mixture into the pie dish and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the pie cool completely and serve with some whipped cream;
pumpkin bread: preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, stir some flour, baking soda, salt, and spices of your choice. In another bowl, whisk some oil, sugar, eggs, and pumpkin puree. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in some nuts, chocolate chips, or dried fruits if desired. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.