Harvesting Pumpkins - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Paul Simon
Colchester, Ve
Avatar for parkarchitec
Question by parkarchitec
October 7, 2010
My pumpkins are looking ready to harvest. The temperatures have been changing in New England and the leaves are beginning to wilt. When is the best time to harvest the fruit? Before I didn't care because I harvested for jack-o-lanterns but now that I would like to use the pumpkins for cooking soups or making pies, I was wondering when the best time to harvest was? Thank you.

Answer from NGA
October 7, 2010
Pumpkins will taste bland and watery and won't store well unless you allow them to fully ripen on the vine. Wait until the plants die back and the shells are hard. A light frost will improve the flavor by changing some of the starch to sugar, but it may shorten their storage life. Try to harvest pumpkins after the vines have died back, but before a frost. Harvest during dry weather by cutting the fruit from the vine, leaving 3-4 inches of stem. Dry in the sun until the stems shrivel and turn gray. Then brush dirt off and store in a cool, dry area. Pumpkins will keep several months in storage. Enjoy!

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