Did you know that pumpkins can be ripened off the vine, just like tomatoes, in the fall? If you need to clean up your vegetable garden, but still have almost ripe pumpkins sitting in the garden, you can ripen the pumpkins and clean up the garden.
How to Ripen Pumpkins Off the Vine
Fantastic for long storage during the winter, pumpkins are one of my favorite crops to grow in our vegetable garden. A few years ago, I found a bush pumpkin plant at my local Home Depot and saved the seeds from the crop. Every year, we grow a new crop, and I use the pumpkins for outdoor decorating.
Since pumpkins are easy to grow in my yard, plus the deer don’t seem to like them as much as tomatoes, I was excited to learn this tip. The trick is to put them in a spot where they’ll receive sun inside or outside. You’ll need to rotate them daily to ensure all the sides receive the sun.
I put these pumpkins on the back porch which receives light in the afternoon about two weeks ago. I wiped them down with a rag and water to make sure they were clean first. I chose this spot because it remains dry under the pumpkins. Plus squirrels are less likely to go up on my back porch, a high traffic spot.
Here they are two weeks later, many of them orange or almost orange. The ones with surface damage from squirrels will be cleaned up, halved, have the seeds removed, and roasted in my oven at 350 degrees until the flesh is soft, and then pureed for the freezer. The rest will be on my front and back porch as part of my autumn/Halloween decorations.
If you have squirrel issues like we do, you can also ripen your pumpkins in a sunny window, rotating them on a regular basis to ensure all sides receive the sun. Just remember to clean and dry the pumpkins first before bringing them in to prevent any unwanted guests. When your pumpkins are ripened, you can use them for a Halloween decoration or bake them in the oven to make pumpkin puree for pie.
- Pumpkin Soup
- Pumpkin Gingerbread (I like to make this at Christmas time for my children’s teachers and neighbors.)
- Gluten-free Coconut Pumpkin Pudding Pie