Pumpkins are one of the most versatile squashes around. Not only is it commonly used in fall desserts and decorations, but the seeds make for popular snacks and its flavor can be cooked into almost any dish. Even lattes at your favorite coffee shop. With all the different uses out there, it’s important to pick the right one this fall. The perfect pumpkin is out there, and you can find it with these tips.
Go Straight To The Source
If you’ve visited a store this month, you’ve probably seen pumpkins for sale. Convenience aside, these pumpkins are a great option if you’re just looking for any pumpkin to spruce up the house. But we’re looking for the perfect pumpkin, and that means we need to go to a pumpkin farm. Stores, and even temporary pumpkin patches, often sell damaged and unripe pumpkins in the interest of making easy money.
Search For The Proper Shape and Shade
For most of us, the perfect pumpkin comes down to shape, since we’re only looking to make jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. True artists should consider the height, width and stem shape so their jack-o-lantern impresses all. Stability is also a key concern. Nobody likes a pumpkin that falls over before the season is done. Novice carvers will also want a pumpkin that has a flat surface. Curves just make it harder to cut.
If you’re planning on using your pumpkin for anything else, you also want to look at the color. The flavor of your pumpkin is largely based on the darkness of the orange. Seek out the darker shade and enjoy tastier pumpkin pies and bread. Smaller pumpkins often contain a higher sugar content, which plays a role in certain recipes, while larger pumpkins have more seeds if you’re planning on roasting them for snacking.
So you’ve found a few good looking pumpkins. Next up, you’ll want to bang on the pumpkin lightly like a drum. This test is useful for determining the ripeness of your pumpkin. The more hollow the sound, the more ready your pumpkin is. If you’re only looking to carve, you may want just the opposite, so your jack-o-lantern lasts longer. This test is similar to what you would use to pick a ripe watermelon, as you’re just trying to find the most moisture.
Conduct a Final Exam
At this point, you’ve probably made your selection. However, there a few final items to check on before you bring your perfect pumpkin home. The pumpkin stem should be firmly attached, which will prevent molding from the top of the pumpkin. Press lightly all over the pumpkin to find any soft spots, as this may be a sign of a bruised pumpkin that you don’t want to take home. Lastly, search for any scratches or cuts, as those blemishes could rot the pumpkin over time.