Pumpkins bring us a bounty of joy during the holidays including the Jack-O-lantern, decorative pumpkins, pies and cakes. Pumpkin is widely used during the Halloween season for fun festivities and in the Thanksgiving season to thank God for the bountiful harvest. Fall is the time when the pumpkins are ready for harvesting.
It is crucial to know when and how to pick the pumpkins so that you can utilize them properly after harvest. If you pick them at the wrong time then they might be of no use so you should decide and pick them as per your requirements.
Some of the key things to keep in mind about harvesting pumpkins are:
- Do not harvest green pumpkins that have not ripened properly as they might not ripe if you pick them early. It is important to let them remain on the vine till the time they don’t turn orange in color. A perfect orange color indicates that the pumpkin is ready for harvest.
- Discard the ones that have holes or large cracks on the surface as such pumpkins are most likely to have insects and pests inside them.
- Be careful while picking pumpkins from the stem as it is prickly. It is advisable to wear gloves while harvesting.
- To check if the pumpkin is ripe and ready for harvest you can try pressing or scratching the bottom of the fruit. Ripe pumpkins have a hard shell and you cannot scratch or make dent in them easily. This will help you to identify if the fruit has soft and weak spots.
- If you plan to store the pumpkins for longer period of time then it is recommended to cure it in sun for at least 10 days. Curing will harden the outer shell and will improve the pumpkin’s shelf life.
- Do not stack the pumpkins one over the other as it can cause rotting and bruising on the surface.
- Get rid of the pumpkins that reveal signs of decay or damage. If you store decayed ones then the infection can spread to the other fruits as well.
- Choose the best ones for carving and decoration as per your requirements. You can scoop out the fiber and seeds inside and let it dry for sometime so that it is ready for carving.
- Smaller pumpkins are ideal for preparing pies, cakes and pumpkin puree. You can use the larger ones for decorative purposes.
- Once you have used the pumpkin, you can save the scooped out seeds and store them for next season. Rinse the seeds well and dry them out properly before storing. It is advisable to let them dry for 4- 6 weeks before storing them. Once they are ready to store you can put them in an envelope or a zip bag and keep them in a cool and dry place.
These are some of the tips that can help you this season in pumpkin harvest. Enjoy picking huge and ripe fruits with your family and friends.
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Article Source: EzineArticles.com