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Harvesting and Storing Pumpkins

Fall is here and that means its time to harvest and select the perfect pumpkin for your garden or Halloween display. 

And whether you grew the pumpkin yourself or are visiting a Pick-Your-Own farm, follow these tips to find the best possible pumpkin.

Start by harvesting pumpkins when the rind is firm and glossy and the spot touching the ground is cream to orange in color.  Leave the stem intact when harvesting pumpkins to extend their longevity.  And always carry the fruit by cradling in it in your arms - not by the stem.

Select pumpkins free of holes, cuts and soft spots.  Damaged fruit tends to rot faster and is sure to ruin the fall display.  Store your pumpkins in a cool location until you are ready to break out the knives and start cutting. 

Extend the life of carved pumpkins by washing them with warm water and letting them dry before you start carving.  Coat the cuts with petroleum jelly to further extend the life and beauty of carved pumpkins.

And once the pumpkin rots – move it to the compost pile, so it can be recycled back into next year’s garden.

A bit more information:  Don’t let those pumpkin seeds go to waste; try roasting them into a healthy snack for you and your family to enjoy.  Remove the pulp by rinsing the seeds in cold water.  Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet treated with a non-stick cooking oil.  Lightly salt.  Bake at 325° for 25 minutes.  Stir the seeds after 10 minutes.  Allow to cool and store any leftovers, if there are any, in an airtight container.


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