My little pumpkin patch is providing me with 5 (and possibly 6) LARGE and beautiful pumpkins. I've always had a fascination with pumpkins. Love to eat them but I also just think they are such a beautiful squash-like fruit. But now I'm faced with a question: How do you tell when a pumpkin is ripe to pick?
I found my answer and today we cut and harvested our first pumpkin of the year and it is a doozy too!
This is what I've learned about pumpkin "picking":
1.) Color is a good indicator. Chances are if it is orange all the way around, the pumpkin is ripe.
2.) Give them a thump. If it sounds hollow, it is ripe and ready to be picked.
3.) The Skin is hard. Use your fingernail and if the skin dents but doesn't puncture, then it is ready for harvest.
4.) The stem is hard. The stem above the pumpkin starts to turn hard, the pumpkin is ready for picking.
But you cannot "pick" a pumpkin. At least not the same way as you do a tomato or green bean. You'll need to use a sharp knife to harvest your pumpkin.
And when you cut the pumpkin, be sure to leave at least several inches of stem attached to the pumpkin. This will slow down the rotting of the pumpkin.
You'll want to disinfect your pumpkin too. After you harvest your pumpkin, wipe it down with a 10% solution of bleach. This too will help prevent premature rot.
But this is only August and I would like to show off my pumpkin for Halloween. How do I prevent it from rotting before then?
Here's how: Keep your pumpkin out of direct sunlight (I'll keep mine in the basement). If you've followed these steps for properly harvesting your pumpkin you should be able to store the pumpkin for many months until you are ready to use it.
MMmmmm...I think I smell some pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin desserts, pumpkin muffins and so many other pumpkin-y goodness in the future!
For a good article on Pumpkin harvesting check out this link HERE.
Until next time,