How to preserve pumpkins until Halloween

Every year, it seems stores start selling pumpkins earlier and earlier, but buying early can mean a rotted mess by Oct. 31.

If you want to preserve your pumpkin masterpiece until Halloween, then take a look at the following tips. Each of these can help keep your jack-o-lantern looking perfectly spooky and fresh—not moldy and rotted.

1. Scoop Out All The Pumpkin “Guts”

You need to keep your pumpkin as bug-free as possible to avoid fast rotting. Yes, the “pumpkin guts” (as my family loves to call them) look stringy and feel cold and slimy, but kids usually love getting their hands dirty for the job. However, to keep the bugs out, needs to be scraped completely clean. Any residual pulp will attract little critters. So, find a sturdy spoon with a good edge and put some elbow grease into cleaning your jack-o-lantern.

2. Banish Pumpkin Rot With Bleach

When it comes to popular pumpkin-saving tips found online, bleach has to rank as No. 1. Multiple websites claim dunking your final product into a solution of bleach and water works wonders. Why? Bleach disinfects anything it touches. So, by applying it to the pumpkin, the bleach destroys the germs and helps keep them away.

All you need is two-thirds cup of bleach per gallon of water. If you have a larger pumpkin, simply double or triple your recipe and use your tub. Does it work? Let’s take a look at the video below:

3. Pamper Your Pumpkin With Petroleum Jelly

Keep pumpkins moisturized and protected by applying petroleum jelly to the interior after it’s cleaned. How does this work? The same way the drugstore staple keeps our lips and skin protected: It creates a barrier between the air and the surface. This prevents drying and cracking, which can cause a pumpkin to rot.

Just dry the interior of the pumpkin after cleaning it. Then, apply the petroleum jelly. Truly as simple—and effective—as that.

4. Refrigerate Your Pumpkin

Remember, pumpkins are food! They start to decay as soon as they get harvested. When you think about it this way, it makes sense to refrigerate your pumpkin at night. So simple! Why didn’t we think of that?

5. Use Acrylic Spray

Again, creating a moisture block keeps mold and decay away for a longer period of time. Applying acrylic spray inside and out of the jack-o-lantern builds that barrier.

Need some decorating ideas for this year’s Halloween jack-o-lantern? How about some no-carve designs to take the mess factor out of the holiday? You could try these pretty princess projects, groovy glow-in-the-dark gourds or even string art designs!

Happy decorating and Happy Halloween!

This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for other great tips and ideas to make the most out of life.

Assorted Pumpkins. Photo credit: E.T. Maynard, Purdue Extension

It seems that pumpkins often mature much earlier than we would like, and this year may be one of those times. Although the season got off to a slow start, the second half of summer was extremely warm and may have brought the pumpkins on in a hurry. And unfortunately, the dry weather that we experienced earlier might contribute to an early end for the pumpkin plants, unless you were able to irrigate on a regular basis.

The conditions needed to store pumpkins until Halloween are pretty hard to find this time of year. For optimum storage, pumpkins need to be kept cool and dry with temperatures between 50 and 60 F and a relative humidity of about 50 to 70 percent. While this may be hard to find around the home, at the very least, keep the pumpkins as cool as possible and out of direct sunlight.

Pumpkins that are bruised or otherwise damaged will rot faster, so store only the best-quality fruit. Pumpkins should be harvested with a portion of the stem attached. But don’t carry pumpkins by the stem; they’re not as sturdy as you might think. Handle pumpkins carefully to prevent wounds to the rind. Cure (air dry) the pumpkins in a warm, humid area for about 10 days so that the rinds have a chance to fully harden. Then place into longer-term storage.The conditions needed to store pumpkins until Halloween are pretty hard to find this time of year. For optimum storage, pumpkins need to be kept cool and dry with temperatures between 50 and 60 F and a relative humidity of about 50 to 70 percent. While this may be hard to find around the home, at the very least, keep the pumpkins as cool as possible and out of direct sunlight.

Under ideal storage conditions, pumpkins can be held for two to three months. However, considering the usual storage conditions found in the home, one month of storage is probably more typical. If you find the pumpkins that you harvest now don’t hold until Halloween, keep your eyes open for farm stand or other pumpkin sales.

Pumpkins are real stars in the fall vegetable garden. They can be eaten straight away once harvested, but if you plan to keep them for longer you’ll need to cure them first and store them correctly. In this video, learn how to grow, pick, cure, and store pumpkins. . We’ll also give you tips on how to protect pumpkins from pests and how to grow the “big one” next year!

Curing and Storing Pumpkins

You can tell if your pumpkins are ripe by looking at its stem. If the stem has died off and hardened, the pumpkin should be ripe. It will sound hollow when slapped, and if you push your thumbnail into the skin it should dent but not puncture it.

Harvest pumpkins before any hard frosts. Cut the stem with a sharp knife, leaving 4 inches attached to the pumpkin. This minimizes the risk of molds or fungal spores developing within the fruit. Brush off any dirt.

Lift and move pumpkins carefully by cupping the fruit in your hands – don’t use the stem as a handle! Keep pumpkins in a warm place such as a greenhouse or sunny windowsill for about 2 weeks, then carefully turn the fruits upside down and leave for another 2 weeks. This insures that the skins harden up properly. Polish your pumpkins with a little olive oil on a cloth to make them moisture-tight, and they’re ready for storage.

Store pumpkins in a dry, frost-free, well-ventilated shed or room at temperatures of up to 68°F. Place them on a thick layer of newspaper or straw on a wire rack to allow air to circulate. Don’t store them near other fruits such as apples, which emit ethylene gas that can speed up ageing. Check on your stored pumpkins them regularly.

5 Tips for Growing Huge Pumpkins

For the best chance of growing big, beautiful pumpkins, follow these 5 simple tips:

1: Rich Soil

Incorporate plenty of organic matter such as garden compost into the soil before planting. Feed every couple of weeks with a liquid seaweed fertilizer. Occasionally mulching with organic matter helps lock in soil moisture, and pumpkin vines will root into it and draw up more nutrients.

2: Space

Plant your pumpkins 3 feet or more apart to give them plenty of space to grow. The more leaves there are the bigger the pumpkins will be, so don’t remove any before flowering starts.

3: Disease Prevention

Powdery mildew can be a major problem. As soon as you see any whitish, powdery or furry patches, cut off the leaves and compost or burn them.

Powdery mildew can be controlled with a simple spray of milk and water diluted at a rate of about 40% milk to 60% water, applied to both sides of the leaf. Spray liberally so that the leaves are dripping. Spray preventatively, before you see the signs of powdery mildew. Spray in bright light, and repeat every 10 days.

4: Protect the Fruits from Rot

Once the fruits begin to grow, place a barrier between the pumpkin and the soil to prevent it from rotting. Use straw, cardboard, or even bits of old broken pot to keep the pumpkin off the ground.

5: Promote Rooting

If you accidentally break a stem while the fruits are still growing, as long as it has not become completely detached from the rest of the stem, it can be repaired. Make sure the edges of the broken part are in contact with one another, then pile organic mulch on top. Make sure to cover the point where the nearest leaves grow from, and water it well. The plant will then be able to send down new roots and repair itself.

Want to properly space your pumpkins for a better harvest next year? Get a free trial of the Almanac Garden Planner—which includes a free newsletter packed with expert gardening tips.

Pumpkin Pickin’

SERIES 28 Episode 02

How do you know when a pumpkin is ready to be picked? Tino has some tips to help!

SIGNS OF PUMPKIN RIPENESS

  • Look out for signs that the plant is ‘dying off’. This includes the leaves turning paler and then browning at the edges
  • Give the pumpkin a little ‘knock’, like knocking gently on a door. If it sounds hollow, it’s a good indication that the pumpkin is ripe.
  • The colour of the skin gives another indication of ripeness. If the fruit has developed a rich colour and is becoming covered in ‘warts,’ the pumpkin is ready to harvest.
  • Smell the neck of the pumpkin (where the fruit meets the stalk). If it smells ‘pumpkiny’, that’s a good sign it’s ready to pick.

HARVESTING AND STORING PUMPKIN

  • When you harvest a pumpkin, always leave a length of the stalk attached – like a handle – but don’t carry it by the stalk as it could rip the top of the pumpkin.
  • Check the pumpkin for damage as only unblemished pumpkins should be stored.
  • Harden the pumpkins in the sun for a week before storing in a cool, dry place.
  • Always store pumpkins on their side, to prevent moisture collecting.

For the first time, I planted pumpkins. They are a beautiful orange color, but how do I know when they are ripe enough to pick?

Pumpkins are ready to harvest when they have reached the desired color and the rind is hard. You can test its readiness by jabbing your fingernail against the outer skin, or rind. It should be strong enough to resist puncture. Also, you can tell a pumpkin is ripe if you hear a hollow sound when you thump on it.

Pumpkins are usually ready to harvest by mid-fall and you definitely want to bring them in before the first frost or when night temperatures are expected to drop down into the 40s for an extended period of time.

When harvesting, use a sharp knife to cut the pumpkin from the vine, leaving about 2 inches of stem. Handle carefully to avoid any nicks or bruises that will accelerate decay.

You can increase the shelf life by curing your pumpkins before storing them. The procedure is simple. Gently clean the pumpkins by brushing off any excess dirt and then place them in an area with a temperature of about 80 to 85 degrees F with 75 to 80 percent relative humidity for 7 to 10 days.

After they have been cured keep your pumpkins in a cool location (about 50 to 60 degrees F), out of direct sunlight with plenty of good air circulation. Stored this way, they should last up to 3 months.

Pumpkins are great for cooking as well as carving. If you’re growing them for the first time and are curious about the harvesting process, you’ve come to the right place. Learn how and when exactly to harvest pumpkins.

It usually takes pumpkins about 80 to 100 frost-free days to fully grow. It’s harvest time when your pumpkin has grown to its full extent and the vines start to wither and die. It’s also best to harvest your pumpkins if the vines are rotting as it is unlikely for them to grow any further. Harvesting pumpkins is tricky business. Along with ensuring that you cut the stem a few inches from the pumpkin to avoid early rotting, there are other technicalities you need to take care of.

Planting, growing and harvesting pumpkins can be time-consuming and a hefty task but the hassle is almost always worth it. They are American natives and require a long growing season. If you provide them with the necessary care and fulfill its required conditions, your pumpkins will thrive and your harvest will be successful. Let’s first talk about when to harvest pumpkin and then we can move forward to the actual process.

When to Harvest Pumpkins

There are a few tactics to know that your pumpkin fruit is ripe enough to be harvested. Although distinctive species require different periods of time to grow mature, the process is identical for all pumpkins. Here’s more information about how to grow pumpkins successfully, and as well as a post about how long it takes to grow pumpkins from seed to fruit.

Once you’ve selected your site, planted the seeds, and provided your plant with the optimum soil and other necessary requirements, you wait for the blooms to appear. After their appearance and successful pollination, your pumpkin fruit begins to grow. Here’s a post explaining how many pumpkins to expect per vine.

Now there are a few factors you need to consider after the pumpkin growth stage to figure out if it’s harvest time or not.

Firstly if there are no signs of frost in your surroundings, the foliage and the vines are really healthy and thriving, know that your pumpkin is going to continue to grow. However, if the case is opposite; the foliage is attacked by pests, diseases and severe infections then the leaves and vines will wither and die. Once that happens, there won’t be any foliage left for your fruit to feed on and no matter the size of your pumpkins, harvest them as they won’t be growing any further.

Once you’ve figured out if your pumpkin plant is healthy or not move to the fingernail test. All you need to do is poke your fingernail in the pumpkin rind. The rind needs to be firm; if you harvest it when it’s too soft then your fruit is likely to rot in a few days. If the pumpkin has completely achieved its color according to the variety you have planted and your fingernail doesn’t leave an imprint then it’s time to harvest.

You can also check the vine and the stems to know the harvest time, although it’s not a mandatory step. See that the plant isn’t infected in any way and the vine starts to dry off and pull away from the pumpkin stems. The vine may wither, twist and become drier. If you see these signs on the main vine, you’ve executed the fingernail test, and your pumpkin has fully developed its respective color then it’s time to enjoy the fruitful outcomes of your hard work and efforts!

Once you’ve established that your pumpkin is, in fact, ready to be harvested, move to the next step.

How to Harvest Pumpkins

Here is a step by step procedure to harvest your precious pumpkins:

A jagged blade might cause diseases to occur in the pumpkin and encourage early rotting. Therefore it’s essential to start by cutting the stem with sharp pruning shears or a knife. Make sure you cut the stem several inches from the pumpkin. Twisting and pulling your pumpkin directly from the vine might be enticing once you see your fruit ready but as they say, just because it’s easier, doesn’t mean it is better. Doing so can cause your pumpkin fruit to damage.

Cut your pumpkin using a pair of sharp pruning shears or gardening scissors from the vine and leave a few inches of the stem connected to the fruit while making your cut. In case you remove the stem completely, it is best practice to consume the fruit as early as possible as it will probably spoil. If you see that your pumpkin has softened, is overripe, or has already spoilt before harvest, then use it for compost rather than letting it go to waste.

Now use 10% bleach solution to wipe and disinfect your pumpkin after harvest. Any harmful organisms residing on the pumpkin will be killed. If you wish to eat the pumpkin the same day, wait for a few hours for the solution to evaporate and wash thoroughly before consuming it.

Once you’ve successfully harvested your fruit, move to the next step.

Storage after Harvest

If you want to store your pumpkins for a long period, wash them with a mild chlorine solution. Make a solution of chlorine and water in a ratio of 1 to 16 parts respectively. This will help in destroying any bacteria that may cause the pumpkins to rot. Let the pumpkins dry completely.

Store your fruit in a warm place where the temperature is around 25ºC for about 2 weeks. This will ensure a longer life span. After this, store your fruit in a cool, dry place with temperatures between 10ºC to 12ºC.

Here are some other things to know about pumpkin storage:

  • Pumpkins can typically be stored from one to three months.
  • It is good practice to store pumpkins in a cool, dry, and dark place. Hot and humid areas are to be avoided at all times.
  • They are best stored on a piece of cardboard. Do not keep them on a cement floor or a rug.
  • You can also freeze your pumpkins to increase their life span. Simply cut the pumpkin into small pieces, and bake, boil, or steam them. Remove the soft fruit from the skin and store in an air-tight jar in the freezer. You can freeze the cubes directly or mash the pumpkin into a puree before freezing.

Following are the answers to some frequently asked questions related to pumpkin harvest:

When do pumpkins turn orange?

All pumpkins fully develop their color once they reach their harvest time. As they continue to grow, they keep forming a brighter color. After your pumpkin plant has successfully passed through all its growth stages, its color turns into a vibrant and beautiful orange.

Note: The color of the pumpkin will depend on the variety you’ve planted. Make sure you check with the manufacturer of the seeds to know what color will your pumpkin form once it has fully grown.

How to tell when pumpkins are ripe?

Following are four ways to check if your pumpkins are ripe:

Color

When a pumpkin has grown completely, it develops its color all the way around. They are usually of a bright-orange shade, but the colors differ according to the variety of pumpkin you’ve planted.

Hollow Sound

Give your pumpkin a thump, if it sounds hollow then it is very likely that the pumpkin has grown mature and is ready for harvest.

Hard Skin

Fingernail test can be performed to check the ripeness of a pumpkin. Simply jab your fingernail in the rind, if it punctures or dents then the fruit isn’t ripe yet.

Hard Stem

When the stem starts to dry off, twist, shrivel and turn hard then your pumpkin is ripe and ready for harvest.

How long do pumpkins last off the vine?

If stored properly, pumpkins last for 4-9 weeks off the vine. Cut the stem a few inches from the pumpkin and store your fruit in a warm place where the temperature is around 77ºF for about 14 days. After this, store your fruit in a cool, dry place with temperatures between 50ºF to 54ºF. If you want them to last longer than this period, use freezing or canning methods to ensure a longer life span.

What month of the year are pumpkins usually ready for picking?

As pumpkins need frost-free days and warm soil to thrive, you need to plant the seeds keeping the harvest time in mind. It is best practice to harvest pumpkins in late September or early October before heavy frosts settle in.

For a successful harvest, you need to provide proper maintenance and care to your pumpkin plant. Pumpkin vines are known to be prone to powdery mildew and bacterial wilt. Therefore it’s essential to take preventive measures or else these diseases can take over and kill your entire crop.

The vines retain their lush green shade and stay healthy until it is time to harvest the fruit. During that time, the vines start to shrivel, die, and decompose. You don’t need to panic at all when that happens as it is simply an indication that harvest time has arrived! Gather your crop and enjoy the fruity results!

What’s next?

Check out this list of 23 things to do with pumpkins – beyond cooking and decorating!

Grow pumpkins

What to do

How to sow seed

  • Seeds can be sown in pots from April to June. Fill a 7.5cm (3in) pot with compost, place a seed in on its side 2.5cm (1in) deep and cover.
  • Label, water and place on a windowsill or in a propagator. When roots begin to show though the bottom of the pot transfer into a 12.5cm (5in) pot.
  • Once seedlings have established, plant outside spacing them 2-3m (6-10ft) apart. Seeds can also be sown from late May to early summer directly into the ground.
  • Choose a sunny, sheltered spot and improve the soil before planting by digging in well-rotted manure or compost. Sow two seeds on their side 2.5cm (1in) deep.
  • Once the seedlings have germinated, remove the weakest one.

Looking after plants

  • Protect seedlings with mulch and feed with general fertiliser or tomato plant food, watering regularly though the growing season.
  • If you’re growing larger varieties use wire as a guide to train shoots as they grow. Remove some fruits before they develop, leaving two or three fruits on the plant. This will encourage the plant to put its energy into producing larger fruit.
  • As the fruits get bigger raise them up onto a piece of wood or brick to protect them from rotting. Remove any leaves shading the fruit as it needs maximum light to ripen.
  • If there’s a risk of an early frost protect the fruit with cardboard and straw.

Harvesting and storage

  • Leave the fruit on the plant for as long as possible to mature and ripen. When the stem cracks and the skin is very tough, the fruit is ready to be picked.
  • Cut fruit off with a long stalk before the first frost. Pumpkins can be stored between four to six months.
  • Expose the pumpkin to sunlight outside for ten days or keep indoors at 27-32ºC (81-90ºF) for four days to harden.
  • Keep your pumpkin stored in a well-ventilated place at about 10ºC degrees (50ºF).

Five to try

  • ‘Hundredweight’ – true to its name this pumpkin is big, it has bright orange skin and needs lots of watering to grow evenly and to its maximum size
  • ‘Crown prince’ – more unusual in shape and colour, this grey skin pumpkin has orange flesh and is ideal for cooking with
  • ‘Jack of all trades’ – ideal for Halloween lateens, this pumpkin stores well and also cooks well
  • ‘Rouge Vif D’Estampes’ – has a strong ornamental shape with red ribbed skin and moist orange flesh, also known as the ‘Cinderella’ pumpkin
  • ‘Baby Bear’ – a golden orange fruit, its seeds can be roasted and eaten. Also great for making pumpkin pie

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I’m not sure what it is about our garden, but it consistently rocks the winter squash game. We don’t even have to plant seeds! Volunteer squash plants pop up each year all around our compost pile and give us some of the most beautiful (and tasty) squash—without a drop of effort on our part.

And the squash plants that we do actually go out of our way to plant and tend to? They produce a ton. It’s so nice to be able to count on a good squash crop each growing season.

(Can you hear me knocking furiously on wood? I would like this squash windfall to continue, Garden Gods, thankyouverymuch.)

There are so many things to love about winter squash. They are tasty. They are mega healthy. They look beautiful on the mantel as fall decor. And, my personal favorite, they are storage rockstars. You don’t need a root cellar. You don’t need a basement. You don’t need a cold frame. I promise, even you, Ms. But-I-Live-In-A-High-Rise-In-The-City, can store winter squash in your itty bitty apartment.

I think winter squash are the perfect crop to get anyone started on food storage. With just a few prep steps and the right nook in your home, you can be eating on winter squash well into next year. Snag a few extra butternuts or acorn squash at your local farmer’s market this weekend and try it yourself.

Sort It

Not all squash are perfect for storage. Pick squash that have clean, unblemished skins. Squash that have intact stems tend to store better than one that have the stem broken off. You’ll want fully-mature squash. Save your storage space for the fully-grown, beautifully-tan butternut squash, not the tiny pie pumpkin that is still a little green. Any squash that have been through a frost or a freeze should be used relatively quickly—they wont store a long time.

Cure It

When winter squash come off the vine in late summer, they are perfectly edible and delicious, but the skin is a little too soft and vulnerable to last through long storage. Enter curing. Curing is easy peasy – all you need is a sunny spot that is preferably dry (but a little bit of dampness won’t hurt anything).

Place the squash out in the sun in one layer on a flat surface for 7-10 days, rotating a few times so all sides get to sunbathe. Ours cure out on a wooden picnic table out in the middle of our backyard. We lost a few squash to curious chickens, but over all, it was a perfect spot for curing.

How will you know when your squash is properly cured? Well, when you press a thumbnail lightly into the skin of uncured squash, you’ll see a fingernail-shaped bruise—sometimes even a full-on cut. Do the same test with a properly cured squash, and you’ll barely even see a dent where your thumbnail was—the skin is thick, tough, and ready to last the winter!

The squash you pick up from the market or store might already be cured, so do the thumbnail test to check. If you don’t make a bruise, you can proceed to the next step without curing.

Wipe It

This is an optional step, but I’ve found I’ve had a lot more storage success if I don’t skip it. I use a light vinegar solution (probably close to one part vinegar to four parts water), and wipe the outside of all the cured squash. Why? Well, there are mold spores, bacteria, and other all-natural, but storage-killing critters on the rind. The quick wipe down kills a large chunk of them and really helps the squash keep longer.

The traditional way to do this is to do the wipe down using a bleach solution (much more diluted, think closer to 10-15 to one), but I like the more natural option of using vinegar, and it seems to work just find and dandy.

Pack It

Each of our beautiful cured squash then gets wrapped very loosely in newspaper. For some storage veggies, you want a humid environment, but for squash, humidity is bad news. The newspaper helps keep air circulating around the squash and absorbs some of the humidity in the air.

Then the squash get packed into large, open boxes. Don’t shove them in too tight. You want the squash not to touch, and you want air to be able to move around. You can also use open air crates (think: milk crates), too, if that’s what you have kicking around. If you have particularly large squash you’re looking to store, you can also just place the squash on some flat cardboard on a shelf. Just make sure you don’t pack the squash too tightly on the shelf—air circulation is your friend!

Store It

The absolute ideal environment to store winter squash is 55°F and 60% humidity, which sounds really specific, but most homes have a spot like that somewhere. Maybe it’s a closet on an outside wall? Maybe it’s under the bed in the basement guest room? Maybe it’s in an unheated enclosed porch?

While 55°F and 60% humidity is perfect—that’s what’ll get you the longest storage—you don’t have to be perfect. You’ll still get numerous months out of a spot that is warm and more or less humid. The one big rule with squash is to not go below 50°F—and certainly don’t let them freeze—warmer is better! With each few degrees warmer you go, you’ll lose some storage time, but you wont lose much quality like you would with the temps going lower. Even if you keep them at normal room temperature of 72°F, you’ll still get a few months of prime squash time!

We have a heated and insulated basement, but it still stays cool—right around 60°F in the winter. We store our squash on the bottom shelf of a metal shelving unit (where it is even cooler) in our basement pantry. And it’ll last all the way to early spring, and sometimes even longer!

Use It

Inspect your squash every week or so. Any squash that are showing dark spots or starting to shrivel, move them up to “use now!” status—they’ll still be good to eat, but won’t last much longer in storage. Compost any squash that are rotting or collapsing.

And then make sure to actually use your stored squash! I have a bad habit of working so hard to store my food, and then totally forgetting about it. Don’t let the fact that your squash are stored in a rarely-used room keep you from putting your favorite butternut recipes on the menu. Enjoy your harvest all winter long!

Storing Winter Squash

It is also suggested that you cure the squash for ten days by placing them in a confined space at temperatures of at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 percent humidity. This helps harden the skin and concentrate the sugars, adding to the sweetness. Be careful not to over do it, which can make your squash dry and stringy, even bitter. I find I achieve the same results once the squash have been stored for a month or two.

Squash should be stored one layer deep and should not touch each other to insure good ventilation. Do not store on a cement floor unless you place a layer of cardboard down first. The ideal storage temperature is 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit and it is best to keep the storage temperature even. Fluctuating temperatures will again encourage rot.

Visually inspect your squash every week, ideally turning the fruits occasionally to expose new areas to air. By examining your stored squash regularly, you can spot any rot as soon as it develops and before it engulfs the entire fruit. All is not lost.

Cut away the bad area and prepare it for dinner or the cooked squash can then be frozen for later consumption. I like to pressure cook the squash for approximately 5 minutes, then puree in a blender, skins and all until velvety smooth, the first step for producing pies or one of my favorite recipes, coconut ginger squash soup. Check out the step by step instructions for this delicious soup on my post for MOTHER’s Real Food blog.

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Douglas Stevenson is a long term member of The Farm Community, one of the largest and oldest ecovillages in the world. He is the author of The Farm Then and Now, a Model for Sustainable Living sold in MOTHER’s Notable New Books. He is also the host of GreenLife Retreats, including The Farm Experience Weekend and workshops on organic gardening, sustainability, and living the green life!

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.

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