While there are a lot of things that I love about fall, I think that pumpkins are probably the best. There’s just nothing quite as comforting as adding some hearty and delicious pumpkin to just about anything–baked goods, lattes, pie, soup… the list goes on and on! But, the key to getting the best out of your pumpkin comes down to being able to pick the perfect one.
Whether you’re checking for pumpkins in your garden or the grocery store, there are a few things to look for in a perfectly ripe pumpkin:
- Check the stem – The stem of a ripe pumpkin should be hard and needs to be cleanly cut to avoid any risk of disease getting to the pumpkin. You also want to look for (or cut) a slightly longer stem. Just make sure you don’t hold it by the stem!
- Check the bottom – When pumpkins start to rot, they go pretty quickly, so the bottom is a good indicator as to the health of the pumpkin.
- Check the skin – The pumpkin skin should be hardened. Use your thumbnail and gently try to puncture the skin. If it dents and doesn’t puncture, it’s ripe! If you’re picking from the store, avoid any pumpkins with cuts or scrapes in the skin though, as the pumpkin will spoil faster and has a higher risk of disease.
- Check the sound – Give the pumpkin a good rap with your knuckles. If it sounds hollow, then it’s ripe!
- Check the color – Obviously pumpkins are ripe when they are orange, but green spots don’t necessarily mean it’s not ripe! When looking for the perfect pumpkin, color should not be the only deciding factor.
Depending on where you live, pumpkins are likely almost ripe or just starting to sprout, so be sure to keep an eye on them! If you’re looking to grow a nice round shape then you’ll want to gently turn the pumpkins as they ripen to get that Cinderella coach look. But even if they are a little lopsided, they’re sure to still taste wonderful!
Happy pumpkin season, everyone!!