Collecting seeds from fresh pumpkins not only preserves heirloom varieties of the gourd but saves money as well. You also get to choose from the best of the best, ensuring a better crop the next growing season.
Select a healthy mature pumpkin free from disease, cracks, or obvious abnormal growths. The healthier the pumpkin the healthier the seeds. Cracks allow air and bacteria to get inside the pumpkin and can damage the seeds.
Cover the entire work surface with newspapers. This keeps the mess contained and makes cleanup a breeze. Simply roll up the newspapers when you are done and discard into the compost bin.
Cut off the top of the pumpkin and remove to reveal the seeds and membrane. Using a large spoon or your hands, remove the insides and place them on the newspapers. Large handfuls of seeds can be directly deposited into the colander.
Separate the membranes from the pumpkin seeds and place the seeds in the colander. Wash the seeds thoroughly taking care to not let the anything go down the drain. Shake off any excess water from the seeds.
Lay the pumpkin seeds out on the newspaper and allow to dry completely. This should only take a day or two. Trying to store seeds while they are still wet will result in mold forming on the seeds and killing them.
Place the pumpkin seeds in an airtight container and store in a cool, dark area. The seeds should not be stored in the refrigerator as they will draw moisture. A basement shelf is fine. The seeds should last up to two years in this manner.