Going out to a pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins, is a fun filled rite of the Fall season. Whether you go out into a field filled with bright, orange pumpkins, or buy them at a roadside stand, we want to be certain that you select the absolutely best pumpkin for carving, decorating and eating! So, read these pumpkin picking tips before you go.
Pumpkins are called “Long keepers”. A healthy, uncarved pumpkin can last to Thanksgiving and beyond.
Look for a pumpkin that is completely orange. Partially green pumpkins might not ripen any further.
Size is an important factor. Medium pumpkins are best for pumpkin carving. Small pumpkins are better for cooking.
Do not pick a pumpkin that is too big for you to carry, especially if you have back problems.
Does the shade of orange matter? If so, there are hundreds of varieties, with many different shades of orange.
Selecting the shape is a matter of personal preference. Some like ’em tall. Others, like ’em round.
Often, people select shapes to fit the carving patterns they will use. Pick your carving pattern before you go.
The stem gives character to a pumpkin. Do not lift or carry a pumpkins by the stem. The stem will likely break.
A ripe pumpkin has a hard shell that does not dent or scratch easily, when pressing on it with a thumbnail. Do this test on the back or bottom of the fruit…….never on the face.
Examine the entire pumpkin carefully for soft spots. If you find even one soft spot, go on to the next pumpkin.
Check for cracks and splits. If you find one, examine it to be sure it is not turning into a soft spot or has mold inside of the crack.
Look for bugs and insects. Specifically, look for holes in the pumpkin, which are indicative of insect problems.
Bring a small wagon with you. It’s easier to haul tired kids and pumpkins.
Wear boots or old sneakers. It could be wet and muddy in the pumpkin patch.
Pick a pumpkin that you can carry back with you.
If smaller children will be carrying the pumpkins, pick smaller one. Remember those little arms will get tired, long before reaching the car.
Bring a sharp knife or pruner.
Cut the vine on either side of the stem. After you get it home, you can trim off the remaining pieces of vine, and cut the stem at the perfect spot.
How to Carve Pumpkins – Now that you have found the perfect pumpkin, find out about carving pumpkins.
Growing Pumpkins – By The Gardener’s Network