When I think of fall, I think of pumpkins. A bright orange, ribbed skinned vegetable that is a member of the squash family. Yes, it’s a squash, a fact that I deny telling my children. Pumpkin bread is a favorite at my house and I wish to keep it that way.
Nevertheless, many times pumpkins are purchased for recreation, for carving a scary jack o’lantern or decorating the front porch. The unfortunate part is, the valuable pulp and seeds contained in the thick shell of the pumpkin, are usually overlooked and disposed of. I, myself, have carved the centers from my pumpkins and have thrown them straight to the trash. This was always with the “assumption” that I could repurchase seeds  the next year. But, with today’s faulty economy, we can no longer take such an optimistic approach with our resources. Harvesting our seeds and having a reserve seed supply could prove to be very beneficial, especially with pumpkins. If you have ever grown any type of squash, you know that they practically grow themselves and the yield is usually more than you can consume. Every gardener has squash, by the baskets, to give away at the end of the harvest season.
Harvesting your own seeds is a quick, simple process, that yields more than enough seeds for another year. I usually dry a small portion for my next year’s harvest and roast the rest to eat. This article will only cover the drying process.
This is how it’s done:

Remove the top of the pumpkin. The skin is touch, so remember to cut away from yourself or another person

Scoop the seeds out with a spoon or your hands DSCN0860

Spread out the seeds and remove any of the fleshly parts that still exist

Now rinse the seeds thoroughly with clean cold water DSCN0861

Dry the seeds by blotting with a paper towel
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Examine the seeds again for any flesh DSCN0864

Spread the seeds, in a single layer, to allow to dry
DSCN0865

Place them in a cool, dry place to dry

Check your seeds daily, turning them until both sides appear dry. The drying process will take several weeks

Label and date an envelope

Store your dried seeds in the envelope. Avoid plastic baggies.  Your seeds may mold

Finished!

You are prepared for next year’s pumpkin patch.

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