Pumpkin Season is upon us! Pumpkins are a Fall favorite for our family. They have both culinary and ornamental uses for us. They are delicious in pies and other desserts, fun to paint and display indoors or out, fun to carve into jack-o’-lanterns as a family activity and of course used in Fall decorations.
Pumpkins are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family along with squash, cantaloupe, cucumber, watermelon and gourds. Pumpkins are considered a type of squash. They are typically round with slightly ribbed deep yellow to orange skin.
If you want to store your pumpkins for use at Thanksgiving or later, place them in a single layer where they don’t touch each other in a cool, dry place (ideally 50-55 degrees F). The room should have good circulation to prevent moisture from forming on the surface of the pumpkins which causes decay. Do not store the pumpkins near apples, pears or other ripening fruit as the ripening fruit releases ethylene gas which shortens the storage life of pumpkins. If you store pumpkins correctly you can expect them to last 2-3 months.
Spend Smart Eat Smart has a great recipe for pumpkin pudding that is low calorie and can be used as a snack or dessert. If you prefer to use fresh pumpkin you can substitute 1 and 3/4 cups mashed fresh pumpkin for the 15 ounce can called for in the recipe.
The USDA SNAP-Ed Connection has more recipes, information about pumpkin nutrition, and how to preserve pumpkin.
If you want to preserve your uncarved pumpkins, start with soaking the pumpkins in a solution of 1 gallon water, 2 T. bleach, and a squirt of dish soap for 15-30 minutes. Rinse and dry well. You can then coat the pumpkins with a spray matte sealer.
Enjoy the abundance of pumpkins this Fall!