I bought 7 huge pumpkins from a gardener two weeks ago. The idea was to store them in the basement, and eat them as soup during the winter.

However, sadly, they have started to rot. (I asked a related gardening question here, it seems to be a fungus from the field.) I need to cut them up, remove the rotting parts, and do something with the good parts right now, otherwise they will be lost. I know no pumpkin-lovers to give them away to, so I would like to continue to store them somehow.

I have the possibility of putting them into cold storage at about 7°C (ca. 44°F). However, I fear that even there, they will go stale relatively quickly if I just cut them into pieces and do nothing further. I have very little space in the freezer, not nearly enough to take them all.

Is there anything I can do with the good pieces that lasts a long time either in cold storage, or (ideally) at room temperature? I'm open to everything, any kind of processing into whatever.

One thing I thought about was pesto - I've seen some very oily pumpkin pesto recipes that actually work with the pulp itself, not only the seeds like most recipes. I'm not sure about the resulting product's shelf life, though. Would the oil make it last longer?

Suggestions would be very welcome, as it would be a shame to let these beautiful vegetables go to waste.

  • 2
    What about just roasting, pureeing, and freezing or cubing and pressure canning as described here? Unfortunately you can't puree and can as a home cook because of the low acidity.
    – justkt
    Dec 30, 2011 at 19:29
  • @justkt pureeing and freezing might end up being the best option after all, yeah. I forgot to mention that I don't have much freezing space, but I'll try to find some more. I don't have the equipment to can it, but thanks for the link, interesting reading!
    – Pekka
    Dec 30, 2011 at 19:33
  • You can cube them, and then can that... nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_04/pumpkin_winter_squash.html
    – derobert
    Jan 3, 2012 at 21:04

3 Answers 3


I think once the outer skin is compromised, your room temperature storage options go out the window.

Your best bet is to puree the pumpkin pieces, and freeze it. Not ideal, I know, but if you don't want the pumpkin to go to waste, that's probably your option.

  • Thanks, yeah, this sounds sensible. I forgot to mention that I don't have much freezing space (except for the 7°C cold storage I have access to), but it looks like it's the only option so I'll have to try and find some more
    – Pekka
    Dec 30, 2011 at 19:33
  • 5
    @Pekka I would add that it would be beneficial to dessicate them somewhat or otherwise try to reduce the moisture (e.g. roast and drain) to (a) minimize volume, and (b) reduce risk of freezer burn. In most cases with the puree, you can use heat, or I typically just use a coffee filter in a colander.
    – mfg
    Dec 30, 2011 at 19:39

Other ideas instead of freezing:

  • Do some pumpkin jam: I usually use 300-400g of sugar for 1Kg of pumpkin. Procede as for a normal jam, add the juice of a lemon (and zest if you wish) and a pinch of nutmeg.
  • Candied pumpkin. This is a classic recipe from Southern Italy, used in many cakes (e.g. cassata siciliana). 1:1 pumpkin:sugar, and you procede as you would normally do for any candied fruit.
  • Pumpkin chutney. I've done pumpkin/apple/vinegar and pumpkin/ginger/raisins (plus various spices of course, be creative!)
  • I've seen recipes for pumpkin hummus, but never tried it myself.
  • 2
    Note on pumpkin - don't treat as shelf-stable, as it is too low acid for this.
    – justkt
    Dec 30, 2011 at 20:05
  • 1
    Chutneys generally have quite low pH, and are shelf-stable provided that they're in sterilized jars. You can also preserve pumpkin in vinegar. Candied pumpkin has a shelf life of years.
    – nico
    Dec 30, 2011 at 22:47
  • Pumpkin is low acid, but it can be canned using a pressure-canner. Alternatively, add citric acid to the pumpkin to increase acidity.
    – Shalryn
    Apr 6, 2016 at 2:22

I know this is late, but in case anyone else has the same problem in the future : pumpkin pickles.

There are plenty of recipies out there, but the important thing is that you want to make sure that the slices are thin enough that the heat during canning process will penetrate sufficiently into the pumpkin. The vinegar in the brine will allow them to be shelf stable.

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