Pumpkins, along with falling leaves and chilly air, signify the arrival of fall. Glowing Jack-o-Lanterns guard porches, while baked pumpkin pie fills the house with mouth-watering aroma. Gracing fairy tales and scary stories, pumpkins have been grown for decoration and food for centuries. Weighing from less than 1 lb. to well over 1000 lbs., pumpkin is rich in potassium and Vitamin A. Pumpkins rely on insects for pollination, without which fruits will not form because they possess separate male and female flowers. Warm soil and 50- to 100-square-foot hills are necessities for successful pumpkin growth.
Choose pumpkins that are free of blemishes or malformations, from the healthiest plants in the pumpkin patch.
Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin, around the stem. Make sure the hole is wide enough to allow for room to scoop out seeds and pulp.
Remove seeds and pulp with a large spoon or scoop.
Separate seeds from pulp, using fingers, and place them in a colander to rinse away any remaining residue.
Drain pumpkin seeds thoroughly, then spread them out evenly on several layers of paper towels. Allow seeds to dry on towels for at least 24 hours.
Transfer seeds to a clean, dry tray or baking sheet for additional drying time. Pumpkin Nook recommends giving seeds at least three weeks to dry thoroughly in a cool, dry location.
Store seeds in paper envelopes or plastic bags, labeled with the date and variety. Seeds should be kept in a cool, dark location until the next growing season.