Picking the Perfect Pumpkin
So you are taking your grandchildren to a local farm to choose the perfect pumpkin this weekend? Staring at the rows of orange orbs, you might think they all look pretty good. Well, not so fast. Before you pick one to take home and carve into a likeness of Mr. Jack -O’Lantern, consider the following:
- Sugar (or pie) pumpkins are the little cousins of the larger ones, and are best used for cooking and baking, hence their names. Use these in muffins, pies, soups etc.
- Examine the entire pumpkin, looking for mushy spots, or other markings that may be an indication the pumpkin has been dropped -- or is getting ready to leak. (One year we jumped the season a little early and bought pumpkins early in September, a good idea until I noticed a stream of orange foul-smelling liquid oozing out of the bottom of the giant pumpkin in our hallway. Yuk.)
- Make sure the stem is firm and solid (and of course, doesn’t come off in your hand when you lift the pumpkin.) Also, set the pumpkin on the ground in front of you to see if it sits straight so that it will make a better display.
- Don’t try to be a hero and pick up too large of a pumpkin. These guys are heavy. Use your legs to lift and arm yourself with the convincing argument for your grandchildren that good things come in small packages.
- Bring any outdoor pumpkins inside if there is a threat of frost.