Friday, September 20, 2013

How to pick the perfect pumpkin to pick at the pumpkin patch

What you need to know before you go to the pumpkin patch.
Because you need to know what to pick before you go picking.
And why you need to be picky about what pumpkin you pick.

Halloween text that says Pick your Pumpkin with Purpose

I keep hearing Promo's for the new Fox show SLEEPY HOLLOW and I keep getting freaked out. I remember being so scared as a kid when the teacher would read Washington Irving's short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow".   (You can read it online for free at

I remember shaking in my sneakers...

Then I realized it wasn't my teacher or the short story that frightened me--it was an episode of Scooby-Doo!  
photo of the cartoon Scooby-Doo with a man with a jack'o lantern head riding a white horse/marvelousmusings

"Zoinks!!!  That was scary, man"

Although the short story by Washington Irving was spooky, the headless horseman from Scooby-Doo really terrified me! THAT DARN PUMPKIN HEAD HAUNTED ME FOR A GOOD PORTION OF MY CHILDHOOD!

While I was trying to shake myself from the repressed tramatic cartoon memories, I welcomed the distraction when I read that the local pumpkin patch opened and is ready for picking.

While Pumpkin Heads are disturbing, the pumpkin patch is always so much fun and this year I want to be prepared when I get there.  I never know what kind of pumpkin is good for what use and I never know which pumpkin to pick.  

So began my research for everything pumpkin.  Pumpkins just say Autumn to me.  Which, when you think about it, really kicks off the holiday season.

Gone are the Dog Days of Summer and sipping Margarita Beer Cocktails while watching the sunset, when we were looking to get out of the kitchen.  In Autumn, we want to snuggle-in and drink Broth.  This is the time we begin to dream about sugar plums dancing in our heads.  

From now until January we have a reason to celebrate at least once a month.  Let's face it:  We are on the platform of the Fast Train to Christmas.

So going to the pumpkin patch is basically calling out CHOO-CHOO here we go!    ALL ABOARD!


Pumpkins will last for the next few months if you care for them properly.  

When you go to the patch you have to have a purpose for your pumpkin in mind.
  • will you bake it?
  • cook with it?
  • carve it?
  • paint it?
  • use it as a soup vessel?
  • leave it alone and let it shine in all it's natural wonderful glory?

The versatility of pumpkins:

  • nutritious; considered a "super food"
  • beauty applications
  • in decor
  • entertainment
  • food
  • animal feed
  • keeps goblins away

What to look for in any pumpkin:

(Especially if you want your pumpkin to last for a few months)

A pumpkin should 
  • have a nice sized stem 
  • feel heavy
  • look beautiful
Any mar, blemish or indent in the skin may lead to an early rot.

Light colored pumpkins are usually softer; making it easier to carve.

Remember to never carry a pumpkin by the stem.

Pick with a purpose at the pumpkin patch:

You need to pick your pumpkin with your purpose in mind.

For Decor:

If you're looking for a "traditional-looking" pumpkin then choose a
Magic Lantern.
How to pick the perfect pumpkin to pick at the pumpkin patch:  Photo of a Magic Lantern pumpkin  a traditional-looking pumpkin/Marvelousmusings
Magic Lantern

For Painting:

If you want to paint a pumpkin, choose an "Orange Smoothie" which has a smooth surface--great to use as a canvas.
photo of an orange smoothie pumpkin on the vine/marvelousmusings

For Baking:

Choose a Sugar Pie pumpkin as they are generally sweeter with a much more fine consistency.  A beautiful pumpkin that was suitable for Cinderella's night at the ball it is also delicious in pies.
How to pick the perfect pumpkin to pick at the pumpkin patch.  Photo of a Cinderella pumpkin which is beautiful and tasty/Marvelousmusings
Cinderella Pumpkin

One pound of raw pumpkin equals about 1 Cup of Puree.

A 5 pound pumpkin usually makes about two 9 inch pies.

What part of the pumpkin can I eat?

All pumpkins are pretty much edible but some are more suited for eating because the flesh is less fibrous.  While some have a thicker rind that makes for better Jack o'lanterns which are bred to be carved.

All parts of the pumpkin are edible.  The "flesh" can be used in pies, baked goods, smoothies, soups... the options are endless.

The seeds are roasted and perfect with just a bit of salt. 

Even the blossoms can be prepared like a zucchini flower. [I can't believe I never heard this or ate this before.]

Although they are all edible there are pumpkins more suited for carving then eating.

All pumpkins are edible but do not eat gourds.

 How long will a pumpkin last?

With proper precautions a pumpkin you pick now (mid-September) could last you from the patch to the new year. 

Tips to make your pumpkin last longer:

  • Keep it in a cool dry place
  • Try not to handle too much
  • Keep pumpkins away from ripening fruit. The fruit releases a gas that will accelerate the decaying process of the pumpkin.
  • Never let the pumpkins touch each other, there should be good air circulation around each pumpkin.

After a while the rind will harden and "cure" making it a bit more resistant to decay and rot.

If stored correctly pumpkins have the durability to last months at least throughout the holiday season.

I have picked pumpkins in September and have had them last throughout the new year when I have thrown them into the snow and given the birds and squirrels a surprise winter treat.

You can even paint one side of the pumpkin to get you through Halloween and then turn it around (the blank side) for your Thanksgiving decor!

How do you pick your pumpkin?

Do you have any tricks to picking the perfect pumpkin?

What plans do you have for your pumpkins?

Chug a chug a choo choo.... 


This post is proudly shared on:  ********* ****

This post is FEATURED on:


  1. Great tips. I am terrible at pumpkin picking so I am going to use these tips when we go this year.
    Thanks for sharing at the Pinworthy Projects Party!

    1. I'm so glad it was useful. I hope it helps you find your perfect pumpkin and you enjoy decorating or eating it!

      Thanks again! Have a Happy Autumn :)

  2. Glad you liked it, thanks for stopping by. Thanks for hosting too! It's a pretty great party!

    Enjoy your Autumn :)

  3. What an informative post. Pinned. Featuring this post at Family Fun Friday!

    1. Thanks Monica, so glad you liked it! I hope you get a "perfect" pumpkin for your purpose...Happy Autumn!

    2. Thank you sooo much for the feature--I am honored!

  4. What a WONDERFUL post! I am going to be following it tomorrow when I go to the farm! LOVE THIS!!! TFS : ) HUGS...Ps...I love the new Sleepy Hollow and have been to the actually SH in's fabulous...I so want to go again on kids almost died when we almost got closed into the SH Cemetary lol!!! hugs...

    1. Thank you for your kind words--I hope the info serves you well and that you pick your perfect pumpkin!
      I am too much of a scaredy cat to go to the real place. You and your kids must be a very BRAVE family :)

      Have a great weekend and lots of fun picking your pumpkins and have a terrific Autumn!

  5. I just wanted to give you a heads up that you're featured on this week's Friday Flash Blog on The Jenny Evolution! Thanks so much for sharing and joining in on the fun.

    Jennifer @ The Jenny Evolution

    1. Thank you so much for the feature--I am thrilled!!

      I love your site and was happy to share, thanks for hosting!

      Happy Autumn!

  6. Thanks for the great tutorial. I always get overwhelmed at the sea of orange! You've been featured this week at the Sunday Sharing Pinterest Party - I hope you'll come back and share more great ideas.

    1. I'm really glad you found this post helpful! Thank you so much for the feature. It was my pleasure to share it and I'm thrilled to be featured!

      Enjoy your Autumn :)

  7. Getting ready to pick pumpkins and your blog is very helpful, this sure is the perfect time of year to post that.

    I would love to have you to link up at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:

    I hope you can make it!
    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

    1. Thanks for the invite! Your site looks really interesting and I can't wait to have more time to really dig into it. It's my sister's dream to have a coop so I'll will send her a link to your site.

      I hope you find your perfect pumpkin and enjoy your Autumn!