What would fall be without the pumpkin? As the most famous of all winter squashes, pumpkins have a special place in our hearts. There are so many fun activities involving pumpkins from baking pies, to picking the perfect pumpkin in the patch, to carving Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween, and more. Buy Minnesota Grown pumpkins this fall and ensure yourself a local pumpkin experience!
How to Pick Your Pumpkin: Carving, Cooking, and Decorating
Look for a firm pumpkin that still has a 1 to 2 inch strong sturdy stem attached. A strong firm pumpkin will last longer than those with thin steams and soft spots. Choose pumpkins without cracks, small holes, or blemishes.
Don’t be fooled! The most orange pumpkin is not always the ripest. Many varieties come in varying shades and colors!
Try these tips to help your carved pumpkin last until Halloween:
- Coat the edges of your carving in petroleum jelly or vegetable oil to slow the pumpkin’s decomposition
- Keep your pumpkin out of direct sunlight during the day
- Cover your pumpkin with a wet towel when it is not on display
- Place your pumpkin in the refrigerator over night
Pumpkins for cooking are usually smaller than the typical Jack-O-Lantern variety. They contain a sweeter flesh that is less water and will work better for your favorite recipes.
Pumpkins can be baked, roasted, steamed, boiled, or made into your favorite sweet treats! Pumpkins are low in calories but high in healthy fibers, Vitamin A, and potassium. Don’t forget about those savory pumpkin seeds! Try the Kakai Pumpkin variety, Snack Jack, Baby Bear next time you make roasted pumpkin seeds. You can figure that one pound of raw, untrimmed pumpkin will yield around one cup of finished pumpkin puree. A 5 pound pumpkin will make roughly two 9 inch pies.
If you plan to store your pumpkin, heavier is better! Pick pumpkins that feel heavy for their size. A higher fleshed pumpkin will sweeten over a few months of storage.
Pumpkin flesh freezes well and will keep frozen for up to a year. Cut up your pumpkin, bake and mash the flesh, and store it in portioned plastic bags in your freezer. This way, you can enjoy your favorite pumpkin recipe throughout the year! This frozen local pumpkin can be substituted in the same amount for any recipe calling for canned pumpkin.
Delicious Pie Pumpkin Varieties:
Cinderella, Pink Banana, Sugar Pie, Blue Hubbard, and more! Ask your farmer for tips!
Did you know pumpkins can be dark green, blue, green with stripes, yellow, tan, pink, white, or bright red? Try a variety you have never seen before! There are so many varieties of pumpkins each with their own shape and color! Mix up your fall décor with interesting new pumpkin types, squashes, and gourds!
For more information on the many pumpkin varieties, check out this website!
Interested in growing your own pumpkins? Learn tips and tricks from University of Minnesota Extension by following this link.