Before storing pumpkins or squash, they must be washed well and disinfected. Pumpkins and squash have different needs depending on their storage place, and you can use diluted vinegar to sanitize the outside of the container. You can also use a damp cloth to wipe off dirt. This will keep pumpkins and squash fresh and free from disease. Here are some tips for cool storage of winter squash and pumpkins.
Leave a short piece of vine attached
Before harvesting your winter squash and pumpkins, make sure that the plant still has a bit of vine attached to it. This will prevent the winter squash from being attacked by pests such as cucumber beetles, which can harm young pumpkin plants. You also want to check them for signs of decay, such as bacterial wilt or powdery mildew. If you spot any of these signs, discard the winter squash and pumpkins.
When harvesting winter squash, try to cut the fruit from the vine at an angle so that it does not suffer any cuts. If you do, the damage could provide an entrance for rot-producing organisms. For better results, cut the fruit with pruning shears and leave a short piece of vine attached. A 3 to 4-inch handle and a one-inch stem are recommended for winter squash. The pumpkins are not as attractive with no stem attached, but they are less likely to rot. Leaving a short piece of vine attached to your pumpkins and winter squash can also minimize rot.
Cure winter squash or pumpkins
To cure winter squash or pumpkins, begin by cutting the stems off the fruits. Place the fruits in a warm, dry place for a couple of weeks. The curing process will help the fruits to harden, seal the stem and flesh, and increase the storage life. If you don’t cue your winter squash or pumpkins, they will rot faster. To speed up the curing process, cut off the stems before the fruit is ripe.
Then, place them in the sun for 10 days, or put them in a warm room for another four to five days. Acorn winter squash, for instance, will become stringy if you leave them out in the sun for more than a week. If you leave your squash out in the sun, it will begin to degenerate and will become rotten sooner than it will otherwise. Stored winter squash or pumpkins will keep up to four to six months.
After curing, winter squash or pumpkins should keep for about four to eight months. Store them at a cool, dry location between fifty and sixty degrees, and you’ll have a great harvest to enjoy for a long time. Pumpkins will improve in taste and texture after one month, so don’t waste time – try it yourself! Once you’ve cured and stored your squash, you’re ready to start enjoying it!
Wash off dirt with a damp soft cloth
While many crops can be shipped and stored without cleaning, there are some that require some additional care. If you see any dirt, debris, or pests, you should wash the product. It saves labor and increases the product’s shelf life, and it also speeds up the cooling process. However, some crops are negatively affected by washing. You should check the package to see if it specifies washing requirements for your specific type of crop.
When storing your harvest, remember to clean the fruit as thoroughly as possible. For acorn winter squash, this is not necessary. Clean them with a paper towel, not a moist cloth. Look for cracks or insect damage. You should discard any squash that is damaged, or that is stringy or has any cracks. Insects can ruin a winter squash’s taste.
sanitize exterior with diluted vinegar
Before storing your winter squash and pumpkins, sanitize the exterior of the produce with diluted vinegar or bleach. Bleach is a sanitizer that kills bacteria and fungi quickly and effectively. Under the right conditions, uncarved pumpkins and squash will degrade and rot. Fortunately, the chemical is safe for human consumption.
To make the process of sanitizing the exterior of winter squash and pumpkins easier, saturate the surface with a solution of one-half part water to three-fourths strength vinegar. This solution has a high concentration of disinfecting agents, so you can apply large amounts of it to a large number of containers in a single go. A large bottle of vinegar will also sanitize many smaller containers. The contact time of the solution is as long as that of the spray bottle.
Store in a cool moister controlled place
To maximize the shelf life of your pumpkins and winter squash, store them in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. The ideal storage temperature for these fruits is 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit, and their humidity level should be between 50 to 70 percent. Lower humidity levels can cause dehydration and weight loss. High humidity levels can result in mold growth and can cause rotting of some of the fruits.
To protect your winter squash and pumpkins from insects and disease, store them in a cool, dry place. Ensure that their storage environment is properly ventilated. Winter squash and pumpkins are susceptible to powdery mildew, so spraying your crops regularly is essential. Early spraying during the flowering stage may reduce the severity of the disease. For bacterial wilt, apply a fungicide to control cucumber beetles, which are the spreaders of this disease. OSU Extension Circular E-832 lists fungicides for pumpkins and squash.
While winter squash and pumpkins are best used during the fall and early winter months, they can be kept for up to two months. When stored properly, acorn, butternut, or pumpkin varieties will remain in good condition for up to two months. If sliced and stored properly, they will be ready for eating anytime in the fall. Once they’ve been properly cured, they’ll continue to produce for several months, making them a great addition to your home-made pumpkin recipes.
Position so the fruit is not touching
When storing winter squash and pumpkins, they should be stored in a cool, dry area that is well-ventilated. Ideally, storage temperatures should be between 50 and 55AfF. Pumpkins should not be piled up, because ethylene gas from ripe fruit causes decay, and piles of the fruit can be problematic. Inspect the storage area regularly to ensure that the squash and pumpkins are not going bad.
Store Squash where they can be easily inspected
If possible, store your pumpkins and winter squash in cool, semi-protected areas. Basements, root cellars, and cabinet shelves are common places to store pumpkins and winter squash. Place them in an area where they can be easily inspected, such as a cabinet near a kitchen stove or heater. Store them in a cool, dry place where children cannot crawl over them or play around them.
When storing winter squash and pumpkins, remember to store them in an area that is as dry and ventilated as possible. Avoid pressure bruises, excessive piling, and packing too tightly. Keep fruit at about 65 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to prevent condensation. Avoid storage in places with high humidity levels since high moisture can cause fungal decay organisms and shriveling of the fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will last for eight to twelve weeks in this manner, depending on their variety and storage conditions.
Check your squash and pumpkins frequently for rot. A squash with cracked, saggy skin may be infected with Phytophthora blight. It is better to harvest early rather than wait until the fruit begins to rot. This way, you can ensure your pumpkins and winter squash have the longest shelf life. But before selecting your pumpkins, make sure you inspect them thoroughly.
A few weeks of storage improves flavor and quailty
It is possible to store winter squash and pumpkins for a few weeks after harvest to ensure the best flavor and quality. It is important to store these crops in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight. Avoid storing them near apples because ethylene from apples causes the skin to turn orange-yellow. Various bacterial and fungal rots can damage the pumpkins and winter squash and shorten their storage life.
Avoid prolonged storage at temperatures above 80 deg F. While this is beneficial for longer storage, sustained storage at this temperature will shorten the lifespan of pumpkins and winter squash. It also increases sugar content and affects the perceived flavor. However, pumpkins can withstand short exposure to cooler temperatures between 50 and 60deg F. Pumpkins can survive up to three months when stored in a cool basement.
Select the type of winter squash and pumpkin that will suit your needs. The delicata pumpkin, for example, has a thin rind and will keep in the refrigerator crisper for a few weeks. The lakota pumpkin is an orange pear shaped pumpkin with a sweet flavor and a smooth texture. The turban pumpkin has a rind that looks like a bright cloth turban. It is bright green and has a bumpy, dull, or mottled surface.