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Pumpkins – They are Technically a Fruit

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As many of you may know, I lived in Alaska for twenty-eight years. One of the great festivities that we looked forward to each year was the Alaska State Fair. One of the first stops that we would make was to see the award-winning cabbages and pumpkins. There is something about that Alaska mid-night sun that aids in growing gigantic vegetables. Last year they had a pumpkin weigh in at 1,469 pounds. That my friend will make a LOT of raw pumpkin pies.


Do you grow pumpkins? I read that the top six states for growing pumpkins in the U.S. are Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California. I have always enjoyed pumpkins. From holiday decorating to making raw pumpkin cheesecakes, to making dehydrated pumpkin seeds… I can always find something to do with a pumpkin!  So to acknowledge all that the pumpkin has to offer, I needed to understand how to grow it. There is nothing that gives me greater appreciation and love for the ingredients that I work with.

Before we dive into how to grow them, did you know that every single part of the pumpkin is edible? Yep, you can eat the skin, leaves, flowers, pulp, seeds and even the stem! The seeds can be boiled, toasted, or dehydrated. The leaves can be boiled or sautéed. The flowers can be stuffed or sautéed (pull out centers first). The flesh can be enjoyed raw, baked, boiled, steamed, or fried and used as a vegetable or as a dessert.  And lastly, the skin is edible, but will generally be too tough unless it is a very young pumpkin. I didn’t know all of that, did you? So, let’s move on to how a person goes about growing them.


Pumpkins need Sun and Room

Pumpkins Good Soil

Pumpkins need Water

pumpkin-flowers on the vine

Pumpkin Flower Pollination

Pumpkin Fertilization and Pruning

Harvesting – Reaping the Reward

Pumpkin Seeds and all Their Glory

You can toss them, compost them, but I recommend either dehydrating them, toasting them, or saving them for next year’s planting. To learn how to dehydrator or bake them, click (here).  If you wish to set some aside to plant, keep on reading.

How to Save Pumpkin Seeds for Planting

  1. Remove the pulp and seeds from inside the pumpkin, place in a colander and slip it under running water so you can massage the pulp off of the seeds, rendering them clean.
  2. There will be more seeds inside the pumpkin than you will ever be able to plant, so once you have a good amount of seeds rinsed, look over them and choose the biggest seeds. Bigger seeds tend to germinate better. Triple the amount that you think that you will want to plant.
  3. Place the rinsed seeds on a dry paper towel making sure they are spaced out, so they don’t stick to one another.
  4. Place in a cool, dry spot for one week.
  5. Once dry, store pumpkin seed for planting in an envelope and slip into a plastic container. Punch several holes in the lid of the container to ensure that condensation doesn’t build up on the inside.
  6. Place the container with the seeds inside at the very back of the fridge.
  7. Next year, when it comes time for planting pumpkin seeds, your pumpkin seeds will be ready to go.
  8. The seeds should last for six years.

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