Pumpkins are a giant, delicious vegetable that have a huge variety of uses. Whether you’re baking up a seasonal treat, carving a jack-o-lantern or cooking them at their simple best, you need to know, how long do pumpkins last?
A whole pumpkin, if blemish free, carefully washed, completely dried, and stored in a cool place should last anywhere from 30 to 90 days. Once cut, you have much less time to enjoy this tasty treat.
Pumpkin Shelf Life
Fresh, whole pumpkin has a surprisingly long shelf life when stored correctly, but as with most fruits and vegetables, this reduces drastically once it is cut or cooked.
- Whole, fresh pumpkin – stored correctly in the pantry, this can last anywhere from two to three months before starting to turn bad. Stored in the fridge, it may last up to five months.
- Fresh cut pumpkin – if stored in the fridge, you should use fresh, cut pumpkin within three days. In the freezer, it can last indefinitely but should be used within eight months for best quality.
- Cooked pumpkin – stored correctly, cooked pumpkin can last for up to one week in the fridge or three to five months in the freezer.
- Canned pumpkin – unopened, this may last up to five years. Once opened, it can last up to one week in the fridge, or three to five months in the freezer.
- Pumpkin pie – should be stored in the fridge and consumed within three to four days. If frozen, it is best consumed within six months.
- Pumpkin seeds – expect pumpkin seeds to last two to three months stored correctly in the pantry, and up to one year in the fridge or freezer.
How To Tell If A Pumpkin Is Bad
Choosing a fresh pumpkin is the key factor in determining the shelf life once you get it home. Here are some telltale signs that a pumpkin is bad.
- Blemishes – if the skin of the pumpkin is scratched or broken, this will accelerate the rate of spoiling. Use it up quickly, cutting out any bad areas, or dispose of it.
- Brown spots – if you can see brown spots on the surface of your pumpkin, you need to examine it more closely. It may still be usable, but once a pumpkin starts to spoil it will go downhill quickly.
- Softness – when pumpkins go bad, it happens from the bottom. Roll or lift the pumpkin to check the condition underneath. If it’s soft or even leaking liquid, it’s no longer good to eat.
- Mold – if you detect any mold, which may appear as fuzzy growths or strange discolorations, you need to throw your pumpkin out.
Do Pumpkin Seeds Go Bad?
Pumpkin seeds can go bad. Stored correctly, they can last well, but be sure to check for mold and bad smells before using them.
Kept in a cool dry area in an airtight container or zip lock bag, pumpkin seeds may last up to three months. For longer-term storage, throw them into an airtight bag and store them in the freezer, where they can last indefinitely.
How Long Does A Carved Pumpkin Last?
The average carved pumpkin should last about one week before starting to rot and become rather unpleasant. It does depend on how well you’ve prepared your pumpkin and what the conditions are like with regards to temperature.
Thoroughly scrape out your pumpkin. Yes, this is gloppy. However, all those wet strings create a yummy home for bacteria and mold, so get as much out as you can. Plus, you can enjoy roasted pumpkin seeds!
Wash out the pumpkin with a little peppermint soap. This will slow the rot.
If you carve big enough holes to allow for good air circulation, the pumpkin may hang in there for around two weeks.
To extend the life a little more, you can wrap it in plastic and store it in the fridge when it’s not on display.
Aim to carve your pumpkin around three days before Halloween – carving too early will result in a mushy jack-o-lantern for Halloween.
How Long Can Pumpkin Pie Sit Out?
Pumpkin pie is a delicious dessert that has been sadly relegated to the holidays in the United States.
If possible, don’t let pumpkin pie sit out long enough to get to room temperature. Your target safe temperature for all the foods served at your holiday feast is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit / 4.5 degrees Celsius.
If you like your pumpkin pie warm, consider microwaving it in short bursts of 10 to 20 second each on low.
Pumpkin pie shouldn’t sit out for more than two hours.
Does Pumpkin Pie Have To Be Refrigerated?
Does pumpkin pie have to be refrigerated? As a general rule and due to the custard-like consistency, yes.
However, as this delicious treat contains a fair bit of fat, be ready for it to absorb flavors from other items in the refrigerator. To avoid a slice of pumpkin pie that tastes a bit like stuffing, keep it airtight.
Once they’re cut apart, separate the slices onto individual plates and wrap each plate in an airtight storage bag.
Whole pies should also be refrigerated and will also need protection from other flavors and aromas. Again, go as airtight as possible.
If you’re concerned about moisture condensation on top of the pie sticking to plastic wrap and gumming things up, first cover your pie in a sheet of wax paper. The surface may not be perfect, but it won’t peel off when you remove the plastic.
Can you freeze pumpkin pie? For short periods of time, this should work. Keep in mind that pumpkin pie crust contains both fat and flour, which may not take well to a long stretch of cold.
However, if you’ve got a whole pumpkin pie and want to freeze it for the next weekend, do so! Thaw it in the refrigerator over the course of a couple of days to avoid moisture build-up, and, of course, store it in an airtight container.
How Long Does Pumpkin Puree Last?
Pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin is the orange goo that gets scooped out of the center of a pie grade pumpkin.
Can you make pumpkin puree out of a jack-o-lantern pumpkin? Yes, but those carving or display pumpkins are mostly hollow, so don’t count on a lot of puree from a jack-o-lantern.
Canned pumpkin is quite serviceable and can last for years; simply follow the use by dates on the can and you should be fine. You’ll probably get more use out of plain pumpkin puree, rather than seasoned as you can use it in savory dishes as well as sweet.
SEE ALSO: How Many Tablespoons In A Cup
How long does pumpkin puree last in the fridge? When working out how to store pumpkin puree, unless you’re going to use it up in just a few days, you’re better off to freeze it.
Can You Freeze Canned Pumpkin?
Can you freeze pumpkin puree without losing that rich flavor? Absolutely! Spoon your puree into a freezer proof bag, squeeze the air out and seal it tightly. Don’t forget to date it so you know how long it’s been sitting in the freezer.
When thawing, simply leave it in the fridge overnight or defrost it in a bowl of cold water.
Canned pumpkin can last indefinitely the freezer, but after about 12 months it will suffer in quality and taste.
How To Store Pumpkins
Whole pumpkins should be stored in a cool, dark place such as your pantry. The best storage temperature is 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make sure your pumpkin is dry before storing, and ensure there is enough air circulation around the entire pumpkin to prevent moisture and mold from developing.
If possible, set your pumpkin on a piece of cardboard to limit the risk of rot and protect your flooring if it does spoil. Once cut (or opened, if store-bought, pre-prepared products) store in an airtight container in the fridge for short-term or freezer for long-term.