The pumpkin is a symbol of autumn. Its cheerful orange color and versatile shape make it a favorite for both decoration and cooking. If you’re like most people, you’ll want to store them so you can plant them next year. In this blog post, we will walk you through the process of harvesting and storing your pumpkin seeds. We’ll also discuss the best conditions for seed storage, and some of the terms that are used when talking about seeds.
When to Harvest Pumpkin Seeds?
Pumpkin seeds should be harvested when the pumpkin is ripe. This usually happens in late September or early October. It’s important to wait until all of the pumpkins have turned orange before harvesting, as this ensures that they are fully developed and ready for planting. If you’re not sure if your pumpkins are mature enough, check them for size, firmness, and color.
What You’ll Need for Harvesting Pumpkin Seeds?
When harvesting pumpkin seeds, you’ll need a few items:
- A sharp knife or scissors
- A bowl
- Paper towels
- A spoon or scoop.
You will want to be careful while using the knife to cut open the pumpkins. It’s best to wear protective gloves to prevent cuts.
How to Harvest and Clean Pumpkin Seeds
Once you have the necessary items, harvesting pumpkin seeds is fairly simple.
- Using your knife or scissors, cut open the pumpkins.
- Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the insides of the pumpkin with a spoon or scoop. You can also use your hands for this step if you want.
- Put all of the seeds and pulp into a bowl and fill it with water.
- Use a sieve to strain out the seeds from the pulp and put them onto paper towels to dry.
- Place the seeds in an airtight container or resealable bag, ensuring they are completely dry before storing.
How to Dry Pumpkin Seeds
To do this, the raw materials are laid out in one layer on trays or flat plates lined with clean paper. Newspaper sheets are not suitable for drying, as printing ink is very toxic.
The container with seeds should be placed in a dry, warm, and well-ventilated place. To protect the product from settling dust and insects, the pallets can be covered with a gauze cloth.
Natural drying is quite long in time and takes approximately 15 – 20 days.
Seed Preparation for Storage
Once the pumpkin seeds are rinsed and dried, you can begin preparing them for storage. First, check the seeds for any powdery mildew, molds, or other signs of disease. If present, discard the affected seeds as they could taint healthy ones if stored together. Next, spread the seeds out on a flat surface and let them dry in a well-ventilated area for several days until completely dry. This helps ensure that the pumpkin seeds are in the best condition for storage.
Conditions for Storage
When stored properly, pumpkin seeds last for several years and still retain their germination potential. In order to maintain this quality, you must store them in a cool and dry place. A temperature of 60-77°F (18-25°C) is ideal, as is a relative humidity of about 50-70%. If the seeds are kept in an environment that is too warm and/or humid, they will quickly lose their viability.
Below is the data on how the percentage of germination varies with the time of seed storage.
- 1 year – 89%
- 2 years – 85%
- 3 years – 83%
- 4 years – 83%
- 5 years – 76%
- 6 years – 71%
- 7 years – 32%
The Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Harvesting and storing pumpkin seeds is a great way to grow your own pumpkins each year. Not only do you get the enjoyment of growing them from scratch, but you also have access to the nutrient-rich benefits that come along with eating the seeds themselves.
- vitamins – A, K, C, groups B, E;
- minerals – copper, phosphorus, zinc, etc;
- fatty acids – stearic, oleic, etc;
- amino acids.