Next year's harvest
image by Darren Hester: sxc.hu
Pumpkins are a member of the squash family and are easy to grow. They have many culinary and decorative uses ranging from pumpkin soup and pie to carved Halloween jack-o'-lanterns. Saving seeds from pumpkins is relatively easy, but to have successful fruit from the seeds you must ensure that cross-pollinating hasn't occurred. Cross-pollination between different varieties of pumpkin may result in an inferior crop. Save seeds from pumpkins grown in single cultivar crops that also do not have other squash, such as zucchini planted nearby.
Choose a ripe, healthy-looking pumpkin and cut in half with a sharp knife or remove just the top if you will be carving the shell for Halloween.
Scoop out all the pulp from inside using a large spoon. Use a metal spoon as it has the strength to sever the fibrous strands that hold the seeds to the shell. Place pulp in a large bowl as you scoop it out.
Pull the seeds from the pulp with your fingers and place into a colander in the sink.
Rinse the seeds under lukewarm running water. Gently scrape off as much pulp as possible with your fingernails.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Lay clean pumpkin seeds on top of the paper towels in a single layer.
Place seeds in a dark, cool room for one month to dry.
Sort through seeds after they are dry and discard any with mold or mildew spots. Save the rest in a labeled envelope in a cool, dry place.