With Thanksgiving on its way and other fall festivities, why not extend the life of these pumpkin decorations into the end of November? I have provided some healthy tips that will enable you to enjoy your pumpkin harvest through this fall season.
Signs of fall’s full presence came in October with cool, crisp winds, dropping leaves and the opening of pumpkin patches and sunflower farms. Some people took their children out amongst the haystacks and cornfields to pick their favorite pumpkins for carving or for home decorations, and many people placed their freshly made jack-o-lanterns out for Halloween. With Thanksgiving on its way and other fall festivities, why not extend the life of these pumpkin decorations into the end of November? I have provided some healthy tips that will enable you to enjoy your pumpkin harvest through this fall season.
What To Look For
- Healthy, textured, ripened pumpkins and gourds
- Ways to preserve and/or harvest pumpkins for healthy snacks and treats
- If you are still looking for pumpkins or gourds for fall display, here is a way to make sure your choice is ripe and ready for picking: press your thumbnail into the rind (skin); if it does not dent in and if the pumpkin is completely uniform in color, it is ready!
- To remove dirt or mold from a pumpkin or gourd that has been outside place it under running water and scrub away any dirt and mold with a produce brush.
- You can also wipe a disinfectant mixture of 1-cup hydrogen peroxide with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to ½ gallon of water (a fantastic bleach substitute) onto your pumpkin or gourds to prevent mold spores from forming and to reduce rotting.
- If you would like to dry pumpkin seeds, wash off any threads or pulpy fibers from the seeds and place them in a warm (not hot) oven for 3 – 4 hours, stirring frequently.
- To roast pumpkin seeds for eating, add a small amount of olive oil with salt to dried seeds and place into a preheated oven of 250 degrees.
- You can also sprout pumpkin seeds to add into fresh salads: Place the desired amount of seeds into a glass jar and add just enough water to cover them; secure cheesecloth over the top of the jar with a rubber band and soak the seeds overnight to soften them. The next day, drain the water through the cheesecloth until there is no more moisture in the jar. Place the jar of seeds into a dark room and rinse the seeds 4 – 6 times each day. You should begin to see ¼-inch sprouts within about three days. Rinse them one more time before setting the jar in a sunlit window until the sprouts grow small leaves.
- If you would like to have dried (small) gourds for indoor decorations, you will need to lay them onto a sheet of newspaper in a warm room with open air-flow for 2 – 3 weeks, turning once each day to cure them. After they are cured, you can polish them with paste wax for display.