Sunday, April 5, 2015

Storing Pumpkins

Pumpkin is a great vegetable for winter time in New Zealand. Interestingly in Britain pumpkin is not considered a vegetable desirable for the table as it is fed to cattle as a winter feed. It may also be regarded as a vegetable for the lower class.

However in New Zealand it is very popular and provides an excellent vegetable with a variety of uses in cooking. It can be used as plain boiled pumpkin, roast pumpkin and pumpkin soup.

Whether you grow your own pumpkin or take advantage of cheaper prices to bulk buy pumpkins we need to be able to store them for a long period. Generally well harvested mature pumpkin need little preparation to keep them over winter.

The pumpkins should be matured fully on the vines before harvesting just before the colder and wetter winter conditions arrive. Cut the stem with secateurs about 3cm from the pumpkin. Clean the fruit by taking all the soil and debris off them. Place the fruit in a dry place to dry off by putting the down the same way as they were growing.

Once dry they can be inspected for damage and stored in a cool dry place with a minimum temperature of about 5C. Do not pile the fruit on top of each other because the pressure can damage the skin and let in disease. Pumpkin can be stacked by placing a small handful of straw between them to prevent this damage.

Use the pumpkin throughout the winter and continue to check on them to see if any are deteriorating. Use those first if necessary.

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