It is fall and pumpkin season! But what do you need to look and feel for to find the best pumpkin this fall? I have not gotten my pumpkin yet to carve for Halloween but I have some things I look for when I pick one out, so hopefully this helps before you go out to get one.

First, off I don't pick out the biggest pumpkin, not because I don't want to carry it but because really big pumpkins don't make for good jack-o-lanterns. In addition, big pumpkins often cause more of a mess and you'll end up spending more time cleaning then enjoying the fun of pumpkin carving. Plus with big pumpkins it could result in injuries due to needing a larger knife to cut or carve through the massive pumpkin. My suggestion would be if you are having trouble picking up the pumpkin then it is probably too big.

McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
McConnell Adams TSM Lansing

Next, here's something that most people don't look for and that is looking at the stem. When picking your next pumpkin look for a green stem out of the top of the pumpkin. A greener stem means the pumpkin has less water loss and less of a chance of having rot. If the stem is browner it means the inside could be tainted already and lead to rotting faster. I didn't do this two years ago, so when I cut the top of pumpkin to scoop out the insides, the stem was brownish and the inside was slightly brown too.

You want to also avoid pumpkins that have wounds or cuts already. I know that you will probably be turning the pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern, but starting with an already wounded or cut pumpkin is not a good start. If the pumpkin is already wounded chances are that the inside are going to be rotting or starting to rot. The best place for these pumpkins are to immediately use them for pies or soups as they will have their best flavor before they rot.

You can see more on what to look for when picking a pumpkin here, from Better Home and Gardening. Plus you can see more on what to look for in picking pumpkins from Cornell University below


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