Perhaps, the better and most cost-effective way to keep winter squash and pumpkins is cool storage. For cool storage to be effective the fruit must be consistently stored above freezing and the germination temperature. Please note, Not all squash store equally well. With that said, I have stored some varieties a winter squash so long that we have had to eat them just to make room for the New Year’s harvest.
For best results:
- cure in warm area squash or pumpkins for a week to 10 days,
- clean off dirt with a damp soft cloth,
- with a second clean soft cloth wash with 1 cup vinegar to one gallon of water, and allow the skin to dry completely before storage.
- Store in a cool (40-550 F), dry place to prevent shrivel, lose weight, and to postpone spoilage as long as possible.
- Position the fruit so that the fruit is not touching one another and so that air can flow freely around the fruit.
- I recommend placing as many of the fruit where they can be easily seen, for easy inspection for signs for an impending loss. The sweetness and quality of squash or pumpkins often improve, if cured for 2 to 4 weeks, or more in storage.
Where to Store Squash and Pumpkins
where to store your squash is a little less important provided the required temperatures can be maintained. Some of the more common places are root cellars, pantries, basements. Just about any place with a cool constant temperature within the ranges required will do. However, it’s best if it’s a place that’s convenient and semi-protected. You don’t want your squash to be damaged by kids playing or by having to crawl over them to get to something important which might beast stored above are behind them. Perhaps, my favorite throughout the years has been the root cellar I grew up with them in Oregon and I’ve long appreciated their value for storing vegetables of all types including winter squash for long periods of time to do the harshest weather during winter. I have, in places like Virginia and Minnesota, used the basement of the home in which I lived. Pantries can be a little more problematic for a couple of reasons. First, having sufficient space to store all the pumpkins and squash growing volumes at my gardens produce. Second, my pantries are usually attached to the house and tend not to read to retain a constant cool temperature.
Is your storage location too warm?
The best way to tell if your storage location is too warm, other than a thermometer, is that when you break open the squash, if you see seeds that have sprouted, then your storage area is too warm the seeds are germinating.