How To Pick The Best Pumpkin

boy picks pumpkin at the farmers market.

Pumpkins are the main decoration for fall. Whether it is to celebrate the season, Halloween, or Thanksgiving, pumpkins are involved in every stage of decorating for fall. Plus, going to a pumpkin patch is how many friends and family start the season off. Having a pumpkin is a must for celebrating the season of harvest, togetherness, and spookiness. This season, Johnson County K-State will teach you how to find the best pumpkin.

What to Look for in a Pumpkin

Look for a fresh pumpkin so that it will last the entire season. When looking for a fresh, long-lasting pumpkin, check for a number of things. First, avoid pumpkins that have sunken-in areas as rot has already begun. Look for a pumpkin that is firm to touch, does not scratch easily when you apply pressure with your fingernail, and has a bright green stem. These are all signs of a mature pumpkin that will last longer than an immature one. If you are looking for a traditional orange pumpkin, typically look for a hard, firm rind and a rich orange color. Since pumpkins come in many shades now, this tip is not always applicable.

How to Carry Your Pumpkin

When carrying your pumpkin, never carry it by the stem. Instead, carry the pumpkin in your arms. Carrying the pumpkin in your arms will help it last longer. The stem and the pumpkin do not have a strong connection. Once a stem breaks off of a pumpkin, the decaying process will speed up.

Match the Pumpkin to Your Purpose

This can mean a variety of things. If you are simply looking for a pumpkin to use as decoration, you might be drawn to different shapes, sizes, and textures. However, if you are looking for a pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern, look for a pumpkin that is uniform in shape and large. If you want a pumpkin to cook and bake with, look for a small and heavy pumpkin.

You might also like: The Ultimate Fall Scavenger Hunt Guide

How to Make Your Pumpkin Last Longer

Pumpkins will survive better in cooler places, whether that is inside or outside. However, hard freezes late in the season can cause an outdoor pumpkin to decay faster. You can whip the pumpkin down with a bleach and water mixture to help reduce rot. This can be done but is not always necessary.

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