Selecting pumpkins

Ken Johnson

Now that the calendar has turned to October and it’s starting to feel like fall, many of us will be decorating for Halloween, which means it’s time to start getting pumpkins. When selecting pumpkins, there are a few things you want to look for:

  • First, choose a pumpkin with a stem. Pumpkins without a stem don’t last as long as those that do. Also, never carry your pumpkin by the stem.
  • The shape of the pumpkin isn’t all that important. But if you plan on carving and/or displaying your pumpkin, select one with a flat bottom, so it will stand upright.
  • Examine pumpkins for soft spots, mold, wrinkles, holes or open cuts. Avoid these pumpkins because these areas will rot.
  • Light-colored pumpkins are easier to carve because the skin is not as hard as darker orange-colored ones. On the other hand, light-colored pumpkins will not keep as well because of their softer skin.
  • Before carving your pumpkin, wash it with warm water and let it dry. Using a small amount of dishwashing soap while washing your pumpkin may help extend its life.
  • Keep your pumpkin in a cool place until you are ready to carve it; this will help extend the life of your pumpkin.
  • Carving should only be done a few days before Halloween. After carving, pumpkins will dry out and deteriorate quickly.
  • After carving your pumpkin, coat the cuts with petroleum jelly. This will help seal the cuts and delay the onset of decay.
  • When lighting your pumpkin, the use of a candle can also make it deteriorate rapidly. Instead, consider using a battery-powered lights to show off your carving ability.
  • Once you’re done with your pumpkin, consider composting it instead of putting it out in the garbage.
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