All throughout the winter I use up the pumpkins and winter squash we’ve either grown or purchased. Winter squash/Pumpkins need to be stored in a cool, dry place. Even with optimum conditions, your winter squash and pumpkins will start to dry out and get pithy. That’s OK though, most of them will be just fine to eat as long as you don’t allow them to get damp and rotten.
I save seeds so I can grow the same vegetable each year. Now if you save seeds from a cultivated variety, a cultivar, you probably won’t get the same plant you started with. But if you use heirloom varieties that have not been changed genetically, you’ll get the same plant year after year.
This year I am saving Field Pumpkin seeds which is an heirloom seed and Cinderella Pumpkin seeds which is a cultivated variety. So I don’t expect a pumpkin exactly like the Cinderella pumpkin next year but we’ll see then what we get.
First I fire up my oven to about 350*F so I can bake the pumpkin while I am cleaning the seeds.
I cut open the pumpkins and scrape out the seeds. A lot of pulp may come with the seeds, that’s OK for now. Be careful cutting open pumpkins, don’t cut toward yourself or your hand.
This Cinderella pumpkin has sort of firm pulp and the seeds are firmly attached to it
The pulp of the Field Pumpkin is more slimy and soft. The seeds come off of it more easily then the Cinderella Pumpkin .
I remove all the pulp I can and then I put the remaining seeds and pulp into a bowl of warm water. Its just a mater of picking up the Field Pumpkin pulp and seeds and giving them a gentle squeeze for the seeds to release from the pulp. I discard the pulp.
The Cinderella Pumpkin takes a bit firmer hand.
After the seeds are pretty clean of pulp I lay them on newspaper or paper towels to dry. You could use a clean cotton towel for this but the seeds dry to the surface and I have found they are hard to get off towels so I use paper.
Seeds should be as dry as possible before storing or they tend to grow mold. Mold will kill your seeds. Don’t dry your seeds for planting in a dehydrator, they usually get too hot and will kill the seeds. Stir them around on the paper every day, a few times a day if possible. They will dry enough to stop sticking to the paper in a day or so.
Store completely dry seeds in labeled glass jars. To absorb any leftover moisture in your seeds you can roll them up in a coffee filter before putting them in the jars.
After the pumpkin flesh is baked, you can scoop it out of the shell and let it cool. It can be used just like this for lots of recipes or you can freeze it in freezer bags, freezer jars or rigid freezer containers. I don’t recommend canning pumpkin or winter squash that is pulp. You can however cut raw pumpkin into 1 – 2 inch chunks and can it in pints at 10 pounds of pressure for 55 minutes.