How to Save Pumpkin Seeds: An Illustrated Guide

Updated on November 10, 2016
Cynthia Hoover profile image

Cynthia is a homesteader who grows, harvests, and stores many foods, and prefers natural, homemade remedies for her family.

When fall rolls around everything seems to turn to pumpkins. Pumpkin flavored everything hits the shelf, and we all start gathering pumpkins for fall decor, carving and even cooking. For years I have been growing my own pumpkins. I continue to plant them every year with seeds I have save from the previous year.

Saving pumpkin seeds is so easy your kids can do it. It is a fun way to get the whole family in the spirit of planning the garden for the following season. There are no special tools required to save pumpkin seeds, and you may have all you need at home already! Next time you carve a Jack-O-Lantern consider saving the seeds. It takes little time to save the seeds, and they also make for a unique gift to give family and friends during the holiday season.

Seed Saving Instructions

Detailed Illustrated Instructions Below

Instructions

  1. When you carve your pumkin place all the pulp and seeds into a bowl.
  2. Hold pulp with seeds over a tray, a cardboard box works best but even a cookie sheet will work in a pinch.
  3. Using your thumb pinch and press at the tip of the seed where it is attached to the pulp. This will allow the seed to easily detach.
  4. Once you have the desired amount of seeds you want to save. Place the tray into a warm area of your home.
  5. Everyday for a week rake your hands through the seeds in the tray. This will loosen any that are sticking, and allow them to dry evenly.
  6. At the end of the week your seeds should be dry. Now you can place them in an envelope, or brown paper bag for storage.
  7. Write the type of pumpkin, and the year you saved them on the envelope and store in a cool dry area of your home until ready to plant.

Save the pulp from carving, or preparing pumpkins for cooking in a bowl.

Place a tray, or ideally small shallow cardboard box (as pictured) next to the bowl of pulp on a work surface or counter.

Pinch the seeds at the tip while holding them over the tray. Put any pulp back into the bowl and continue the process until you have the desired amount you wish to save. Place the tray in a cool dry place for a week. Rake your hands through the seeds daily.

At the end of the week your seeds should be ready. Place them in an envelope or brown paper bag and label them with the type of seed, and year you saved them.

Store seeds in a cool dry area until planting seasons. A Basement or root cellar work well. You can even store them in a cupboard if need be. Just make sure they stay dry.

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Give the Gift of Seeds

You may not plan on growing your own pumpkins next year, or ever for that matter. Giving seeds as gifts is a great way to give a unique gift to someone in your life who loves to garden! With a little bit of crafting you can create a very pretty package by placing them in a jar and decorating it.

I also give seeds to the homeless. It may sound silly but I always save more seeds than I will need. It only takes a few moments to write down the basic instructions for any given plant, and put them in an envelope with the corresponding seeds. A friend of mine goes out every month and delivers necessities to those in need. I started adding seed envelopes with the other items I would give her. The idea is that perhaps they will have a more reliable source of food, and perhaps find some joy in gardening. Not necessarily pumpkin as they do take up a large amount of space. Though giving seeds like tomatoes, and beans that can be easily grown in a small amount of space, or container could just mean filling a belly when there are no other ways for them to get food.

So next time you carve a pumpkin consider saving the seeds. It is easy, and if you choose they are delicious roasted or make a wonderful gift as well.

Questions & Answers

    © 2016 Cynthia Hoover

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      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        20 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Thank you Rachel! I love pumpkins! My son loves to eat plain pumpkin, just steamed or he will eat the purée but unsweetened. He is not very fond of snacking on the seeds, but he just turned three so maybe in time!

      • Rachel L Alba profile image

        Rachel L Alba 

        20 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

        Hi Cynthia, what a lovely picture of the orange pumpkins sitting in the purple lavender. I actually haven't bought a pumpkin a long time, but your hub made me wish I did. The kids love the pumpkin seeds to snack on too. Thanks for sharing this subject.

        Blessings to you.

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