How to Dry Pumpkins

by Sommer Leigh

Dry pumpkins so they last longer.

Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Dry pumpkins to preserve them for for future use. If you dry them whole, use them in crafts or keep them longer after decorating. Drying the flesh of the pumpkin preserves it for use in baked goods and other dishes. Dried, decorated pumpkins, especially if painted, last for months. The dried flesh may last even longer if stored properly. Drying your pumpkins means you never have to waste another pumpkin, if you have a large harvest or don't have enough time to use a fresh pumpkin before it spoils.

For Crafts or Decorating

Wipe the pumpkins with a cloth dipped in warm, soapy water. Spray the pumpkins with a household disinfectant to kill any bacteria that may cause spoilage. Wipe off any remaining disinfectant with a clean, dry towel.

Spread pieces of newspaper out in an area that maintains temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the pumpkins on top of the newspaper to cure and dry for 1 to 2 weeks. The skin should harden completely when the pumpkin is dry.

For Food

Wipe the pumpkins with a cloth dipped in warm, soapy water. Spray the pumpkins with a household disinfectant to kill any bacteria that may cause spoilage. Wipe off any remaining disinfectant with a clean, dry towel.

Cut the pumpkins in half with a clean, sharp, serrated knife. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard.

Cut the skin from the pumpkins and cut the flesh into slices.

Steam the pumpkin slices in a steamer or in a pot on the stove top for six minutes.

Spread the slices out evenly on a tray and lay them in the sun to dry for about two days, or until completely dry. The pumpkin slices should shrivel, appear dry and brittle and have no areas of moisture left when they are fully dry.

Tips

  • Make a homemade disinfectant with one part bleach to ten parts water.

    Store the dried pumpkins in a basement, attic or garage; choose a dry area with good airflow that maintains temperatures between 45 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

    When drying outside, dry in the sun so the pumpkin dries quickly.

    Cover the pumpkin slices with netting if bugs are a problem.

    Stored dried pumpkin in the freezer.

    Grind dried pumpkin to use as a flour in baked goods.

    Rehydrate dried pumpkin, puree and use in pies or baby food.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Sommer Leigh has produced home, garden, family and health content since 1997 for such nationally known publications as "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Midwest Living," "Healthy Kids" and "American Baby." Leigh also owns a Web-consulting business and writes for several Internet publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in information technology and Web management from the University of Phoenix.