How to Dry Out Pumpkin Seeds for Planting

Overview

Pumpkins are a sure sign of fall, bringing to mind thoughts of autumn leaves and harvest time. When you clean out a pumpkin, whether for pie filling or to carve a jack-o'-lantern, you are left with a pile of seeds and pulp. If you are not into wasting the seeds, and you enjoy growing your own pumpkins, dry them out and save them for next year's crop.

Step 1

Separate the seeds from the pumpkin pulp and put them in a large bowl.

Step 2

Add lukewarm water and a drop of mild dish soap to the bowl. Swirl the seeds around, gently cleaning them off, for about five minutes.

Step 3

Transfer the seeds to a colander or strainer and rinse well with lukewarm water. Rinse for five minutes to make sure that all soapy residue is off the seeds. Allow the seeds to remain in the strainer for an hour in order to drain. Shake the strainer occasionally to stir them up and remove more water.

Step 4

Lay the pumpkin seeds out in a single layer on paper towels and pat them dry.

Step 5

Place a window screen on a counter in a cool, dry location. A window screen is ideal for drying pumpkin seeds because when the window screen lays flat, it will have a bit of room underneath it for air flow.

Step 6

Lay the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on the window screen. The seeds need to be allowed to air dry for at least three weeks. If they are out of the way and you can let them dry longer, that is preferred. Stir and flip the seeds twice per week during the drying process.

Step 7

Place the dried pumpkin seeds in a paper envelope and store in a cool, dry place.

Tips and Warnings

  • Storing the seeds before they are completely dry can cause the seeds to mold and rot.

References

  • Pumpkin Nook: Pumpkin Seeds: Buying, Collecting, Saving
  • Exploratorium: Science of Gardening: Squash Seeds
  • International Seed Saving Institute: Pumpkin

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois Extension: Pumpkins and More
Keywords: saving pumpkin seeds, drying pumpkin seeds, harvesting pumpkin seeds

About this Author

A freelance writer for more than 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.