How Long Do Pumpkins Last? How To Store Them

how long do pumpkins last

Picking a pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern or a pie can be a little confusing. However, each style of pumpkin lends itself either to holiday fun or a delicious holiday treat. In our guide below we will help you figure out how to buy the best pumpkin for your purposes and how to care for them once you bring them home.

How Long Do Pumpkins Last?

An unblemished pumpkin, carefully washed, completely dried and stored in a cool place, should last between 30 and 90 days.

If possible, set your pumpkin on a piece of cardboard to limit the risk of rot and protect your flooring if it does spoil.

The principal consideration when reviewing how to store pumpkins: Keep things cool and dry, so your pumpkin can cure rather than rotting. When working out how to keep pumpkins fresh, avoid moisture, heat and light.

How Long Does A Carved Pumpkin Last?

Carved Pumpkin

Experts with TheKitchn recommend:

  1. 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!
  2. Wash out the pumpkin with a little peppermint soap. This will slow the rot.
  3. If it's warm outside, refrigerate your pumpkin overnight.
  4. Don't expect your pumpkin to last more than a week once it's been cut. Carving too early will result in a mushy jack-o-lantern for Halloween.

Storing Whole Pumpkins

If you're buying a whole pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern, be aware that this is not a good pumpkin for making pie.

The seeds can be roasted and dried, but Halloween pumpkins have thinner walls and less of the flesh that can be made into pie.

Experts with The Spruce offer simple guidelines on buying and storing a healthy pumpkin for your Halloween or puree needs.

Check The Stem

The stem of your pumpkin should be hard and dry, but take care never to carry your pumpkin by the stem.

It can snap off or tear out of the flesh of the pumpkin, leaving a space for rot to start.

Check The Skin

How to tell if a pumpkin is bad? Any breaches in the skin put your pumpkin at risk.

A properly cured pumpkin will tolerate pressure from a fingernail and not crack; if the flesh splits, move on to another pumpkin.

Also look for brown spots; once a pumpkin starts to spoil it will go downhill quickly. Be sure to roll or lift the pumpkin and check the condition of the bottom.

Experts with Pumpkin Nook recommend curing pumpkins on a board as the vine dries to keep the fruit off the dirt and away from water, mold and animals.

Check The Vine

If you're field-harvesting a pumpkin for carving, make sure the vine has completely dried.

A properly cured pumpkin will be attached to a dried, leathery vine.

Don't tear away the vine; cut it so you don't damage the vine and injure other pumpkins along the way.

Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin pie slice

Pumpkin pie is a delicious dessert that has been sadly relegated to the holidays in the United States.

This dense and spicy dessert offers many levels of flavor, including some luscious fat thanks to the eggs, milk or cream, and butter in the crust.

How Long Can Pumpkin Pie Sit Out?

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 made only from canned pumpkin already contains preservatives and may not need stabilizing.

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.

How to Store Pumpkin Pie

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.

Pumpkin Puree

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 or Homemade?

How long does canned pumpkin last? 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.

Homemade pumpkin puree is quite easy, as directed by The Pioneer Woman. The recipe recommends removing the seeds and strings from inside the pumpkin, then cutting it up into chunks and roasting the flesh until it's soft and the outer shell releases and crinkles.

Once the roasted pumpkin cools, you can peel off the outer skin and mash the rest in a food processor. Drummond suggests freezing your pumpkin puree in one cup freezer bags until you're ready to put it to use.

SEE ALSO: How Many Tablespoons In A Cup

Can you freeze pumpkin puree without losing that rich flavor? Absolutely! Make sure the bag is as flat and free of air as you can make it, and then date it so you don't forget about it.

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.

Final Thoughts

Fresh pumpkin puree is a lush addition to soups, quick breads and desserts. Make sure you get carving pumpkins for your jack-o-lanterns and baking pumpkins for your pie.

Keep the outside clean, avoid any pumpkins with splits or dark spots on the skin, and enjoy your fall holidays!


Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments with your favorite pumpkin recipes and tips for storing pumpkins.

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How Long Do Pumpkins Last? How To Store Them
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