One of the vegetables that give the grower the most satisfaction is definitely the pumpkin. It is a plant that requires a lot of fertilizer, but it pays off amply at harvest time with good production and in many cases also giving large vegetables.
Fortunately, this abundance should not be consumed immediately: in fact, pumpkin is one of the simplest vegetables to keep for a long time, provided it is not cut. We will then discover how a whole pumpkin can best be preserved and at what temperature it should be.
Even if the open pumpkin lasts only a few days, there are some good ideas to avoid waste and there is the possibility of freezing it.
Keep the pumpkin whole
The whole pumpkin can last for a long time, even six months, the important thing is to keep it in the right place and make sure it has matured well before harvesting it. Fortunately, preserving a pumpkin is much easier than preserving zucchini, although they are similar plants, the fruit has very different pulp and skin, the rind of the pumpkin is an excellent insulator and the pulp is less watery.
The correct conservation of this vegetable begins during its cultivation, since it is essential that the pumpkin is taken only when it is completely ripe and has thus begun to dry out. Otherwise, if it is still taken a little unripe even though it is edible, it still has too much water inside and it rots much earlier. It is not difficult to understand when a pumpkin is ready to be picked, you can read some tricks in the article on the pumpkin harvest.
Another important precaution is not to tear the stalk, but to leave it attached to the fruit by cutting it. In fact, tearing could damage the rind, leaving a part of the pulp exposed to the air, in this case the rot of the vegetable easily develops from the opening.
Where to keep the pumpkin
Many vegetables keep well in the cold, but this is not the case with squash. If the temperature drops below 10 degrees, the pulp of our autumn vegetable can crystallize and then degrade rapidly. For this reason, the ideal temperature at which to keep the pumpkin is 18 degrees, so no cold room but a simple room.
In addition to the temperature, the right place to keep the pumpkins must be not very humid and above all ventilated. Air recirculation is essential not to encourage rot, disposing of any excess moisture in the air.
How long does a pumpkin last
A whole pumpkin, stored in the right way, can be preserved for months and from the autumn harvest it can be kept until late spring and in some cases even in summer. If it is cut, however, once opened it lasts 5/6 days.
The duration of the pumpkin also depends on its variety: there are types selected precisely to keep them better, for example the marina of Chioggia is an excellent variety for preservation.
Keep the cut pumpkin
If a whole pumpkin lasts a long time once it is opened this vegetable must be eaten quickly enough, in a few days it risks going bad. To avoid waste it is good to have some ideas on how to use pumpkin, since it is often a large vegetable.
After cutting the pumpkin, a first precaution to facilitate conservation is to immediately remove the internal part with filaments and seeds, which is generally the first to rot. Remember that the seeds of this vegetable are edible and you can decide to toast them.
Storage in the refrigerator
The pumpkin can be kept for a few days in the refrigerator, it is advisable to cover it with the special transparent film to prevent it from taking on a bad smell.
In the fridge, however, it does not last more than a week, as the days go by the quality of the vegetables decreases and when rot or mold begins to form it will be thrown away.
Freeze the pumpkin
The freezer can help keep squash, which can be frozen both raw and cooked.
Putting it in the freezer after cooking can be convenient, since it allows you to have ready meals available. A few minutes in the microwave will be enough to defrost. Virtually all pumpkin recipes can be frozen: steamed, boiled, pan-fried, grilled, baked, ...
Other ideas: drying, canned jams
There are preparations with pumpkin that allow you to put it in the pantry for a few months, these are transformations that also open up to new flavors and uses, such as drying, pickling and jam.
There dried pumpkin it can be used in soups and other culinary preparations, by chopping it you get a flour that lends itself to different uses in the kitchen. To obtain it, it is advisable to use a dryer, since drying in the sun would be difficult to manage in the autumn season, when the climate is rarely helpful.
There preserves in jar it can be made in oil or pickled and allows you to have a delicious side dish or appetizer that is always ready to use.
There pumpkin jam it can be made both sweet, to be eaten as jam with bread, or more sweet and sour, like chutney, which is delicious to accompany meats and cheeses.