Pumpkins should be prepared for winter storage immediately after harvest. For these purposes, it is best to use late-ripening varieties. It is they who, subject to certain conditions, are able to survive until spring.
- Preliminary preparation and storage conditions
- Basic storage methods
- Pumpkin blanks
Preliminary preparation and storage conditions
Fruits intended for winter storage should be picked on dry and warm days, while it is very important to monitor the safety of the stalk, both during harvesting and during transportation. The place under the stalk is quite vulnerable and if damaged, the vegetable is likely to rot.
Before storage, pumpkin fruits must be dried in the sun. This will allow their peel to dry out, and minor damage will have time to cork during this time.
After the pumpkin is dry, you can put it in winter storage. The storage space for the pumpkin must meet certain conditions. Only in this case can the safety of this vegetable be guaranteed until spring. So, pumpkin storage must meet the following conditions:
- The room where the vegetable will be stored must be dry and dark.
- Cool. The optimum storage temperature is + 5 ° to + 10 °.
- Good ventilation.
Failure to comply with at least one of these conditions will significantly reduce the shelf life of the pumpkin. For example, high humidity reduces this period by 2, or even 3 months.
Basic storage methods
The best place to store your pumpkin is in your basement or cellar. This is where the easiest way to create the right conditions.
Basement or cellar storage
For storing pumpkins in the basement or underground, you can equip racks or make shelves. It is also possible to lay it out on pallets. The main thing is not to lay it directly on the ground or floor. The pumpkins should be laid up with the stalks, it is also desirable that they do not touch each other. Attention! During the winter, the cellar should be inspected periodically. And remove all rotten pumpkins.
Storage in the apartment
Not everyone has the opportunity to use a basement for winter storage of pumpkins. City dwellers for these purposes can use a dark and cool place in the apartment, for example, a closet. The pumpkins are stacked there in the same way as when stored in the basement.
In the absence of a pantry, you can use any dark place. The main thing is to keep it as far away from heat sources as possible. For example, a place under the bed is very good for these purposes.
If there is no opportunity for storing pumpkins in the apartment, then for these purposes you can use a glazed balcony or loggia. A prerequisite for this method is the covering of the fruit with a dark opaque cloth. In case of a strong cold snap, the pumpkin should be additionally covered, as it is easily damaged even by slight frosts.
Storing cut fruit
Pumpkin fruits are very large, so it is simply impossible to consume them at one time. Cut pumpkins can be stored fairly well in the refrigerator. To do this, they need to be cut into separate lobes, peeled and cut into cubes.
Pumpkin blanks are folded into a plastic bag and placed in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. In this form, they can be stored for up to 10 days. If the pumpkin needs to be stored for a longer period, then the plastic bag is replaced with foil. In this form, pumpkin can be stored without losing its qualities for up to 1 month.
Sometimes it happens that there is no possibility for any storage. In this case, you can save the pumpkin harvest with the help of blanks. There are quite a few ways to preserve pumpkin that allow you to preserve almost all of its useful properties.
Video on how to store pumpkin until a new crop appears:
The advantage of this method of canning is that the taste of the pumpkin in this case remains almost unchanged. This blank can be used in the same way as regular dried fruits. To cook pumpkin according to this recipe, you need to follow the following procedure:
- Pick a ripe fruit and remove the seeds and rind from it.
- Cut into slices about 0.5 cm thick.
- To preserve the color, the slices can be dipped in boiling slightly salted water for 1-2 minutes, and then cooled.
- Pumpkin slices are laid out on a baking sheet and placed in an oven heated to 60 ° C for 5-6 hours.
- After this time, the temperature in the oven is increased to 70 ° and the pumpkin is left there for another 2 hours.
To store the pumpkin dried in this way, cardboard boxes or glass jars are used.
You can save the pumpkin by making candied fruits from it, which can then be used to decorate pastries or as a dessert. The recipe for making candied fruits is as follows:
- The pumpkin is washed, peeled from the rind and seeds.
- Cut into small cubes.
- Syrup is prepared from 1.2 kg of sugar, 200 g of water and the juice of one lemon.
- Pumpkin cubes are poured with the resulting syrup and boiled for 5 minutes.
- After that, the pumpkin syrup is left for another 5-6 hours.
- After this time, the syrup is brought to a boil again.
- The syrup is left overnight to infuse.
After that, the pumpkin cubes are thrown back in a colander, where they are left until the syrup is completely drained. The cubes so dried are sprinkled with sugar. It is best to store candied fruits in glass jars.
Pumpkin and apples can be used to make a pretty tasty puree. The cooking process consists of the following steps:
- Pumpkin and apples are washed, peeled and seeds removed.
- Pass through a meat grinder.
- Sprinkle with granulated sugar in the following proportion: for 1 kg of pumpkin and 500 g of apples, 4 tablespoons of sugar.
- The resulting mixture is cooked for 2 hours over very low heat.
Towards the end, citric acid is added to the puree in the amount of 1 teaspoon. Hot mashed potatoes are laid out in sterilized jars and rolled up. Pumpkin is a delicious and healthy vegetable. With the right approach, it is not at all difficult to keep it until spring.