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How to Pick A Pumpkin

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Pumpkin Patch at Weed Farms Marlboro NY - Fall Photo

The pumpkin patch at Weed Farms in Marlboro, New York, is filled with orange contenders of all shapes and sizes.

© 2008 Kim Knox Beckius
Here are a few quick tips for picking your own pumpkin. Many would apply to selecting a pre-picked pumpkin, too.

More: Free Pumpkin Carving Patterns | Pumpkin Recipes

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 30 minutes

Here's How:

  1. The very best place to purchase a pumpkin is at a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, as that way you're assured that the pumpkin is fresh from the field.
  2. A farm stand would probably be the second best bet, as at least the pumpkins were picked nearby and did not have to endure the jostling that might occur during shipment to supermarkets.
  3. It's important to look at the pumpkin from all sides before picking it. Look to make sure that the entire pumpkin is colored bright orange and that there are no bruises, soft spots, scars or signs of mold.
  4. If it is possible, sit the pumpkin upright while it is still on the vine to make sure that it will sit level once you've brought it home to display.
  5. It's important to make sure that the stem stays attached to the pumpkin. Pumpkins that are ready for picking should have dried, somewhat brittle stems that make them easy to pluck from the vine.
  6. Carry the pumpkin by the bottom so as not to risk damage to the stem.
  7. Pumpkins should be stored in a cool, dry place prior to carving/displaying them.

Tips:

  1. If the pumpkin is a heavy one, be sure to follow conventional strategies for hoisting heavy objects, i.e., lift with your legs, not with your back.
  2. Frost is a big enemy to pumpkins, so bring them indoors if freezing weather threatens.
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