How to Choose the Perfect Pumpkins This Halloween
Ghosts, Goblins, and Pumpkins
Halloween is mainly about the little ghosts and goblins getting ready for trick-or-treating, but another thing that pops into everyone's mind once Halloween season rolls around is decorating the front yard with those big, beautiful, orange carved pumpkins (and perhaps trying a pumpkin recipe).
Every October, your local supermarkets are lined up with pumpkins of different shapes, textures, and sizes. You are tempted to buy them but you are worried that they might spoil before Halloween comes along. Not to worry—read below and get great tips on finding the best pumpkin or pumpkins that will last throughout Halloween!
"Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see."
Why Are Pumpkins Associated With Halloween?
Pumpkin, which is categorized as a fruit, is native to North America and dates back centuries. Long before the pilgrims arrived in North America, Native Americans used pumpkins as food. They also took strips of pumpkin and dried them to weave into mats. Eventually, pilgrims used pumpkins to create several delicious recipes. The name pumpkin derives from the Greek word "large melon" or "pepon." Though French changed it later to "pompom" which was later changed by American colonists to "pumpkin".
But as fun as the name sounds and as festive as pumpkins look, there is a reason why they are the symbol of Halloween.
The Irish Tradition of Making Jack-O-Lanterns
It is the Irish tradition of making Jack-O-Lanterns that was brought to the U.S. colonies when Irish immigrated that eventually made pumpkin the Halloween symbol. As the story goes of Jack, the blacksmith, who tricked the devil several times, was denied entrance in heaven and hell and was given a burning ember. To carry out the burning ember he hollowed out a turnip. Through this folklore, the Irish started carving turnips with coal burning inside to keep evil spirits away. But when they migrated to the U.S. they saw that pumpkins were a great source to carve scary faces and put candles in to ward off all evil which in fact is the main reason behind putting carved pumpkins outside on your porch: protection from evil.
The Perfect Pumpkin Seasons (HK) CI220 17-Piece Deluxe Carving Kit
This pumpkin carving kit which I had bought when my child was young has lasted us over 5 years. It is safe and a fun kit for children as young as 8. It is useful as your child will also be able to assist you in carving the shape he or she wants for their special pumpkin with safe tools.
Tips For Picking the Right Pumpkin to Carve
Before you head out to your local pumpkin patch or supermarket, be sure to read these tips before choosing a pumpkin or two to carve with your children.
Shapes, Colors, and Sizes Matter in a Pumpkin
- First and foremost, a pumpkin that will be carved should look healthy and be a bit firm. Soft spots on the pumpkin might indicate that the pumpkin is spoiling.
- Secondly, children are attracted to the big, heavy pumpkins as they feel the bigger it is the better it will look when carved. But make sure that your pumpkin is not too heavy as heavy pumpkin will have thick walls which will make difficult for your beautiful candle light to glow through it. Also, thick and heavy walls will make it that much more difficult and dangerous to carve into.
- Third, as different and interesting as the long shaped pumpkins look, they are considered to be more stringier meaning it will make it that much more harder to carve.
- Fourth, a deep orange color or even a white pumpkin will last long and make beautiful carved shapes. The advantage of having a white pumpkin is that children can enjoy painting it. A pumpkin that has green patches will last long however it will be difficult to carve it as it is still too firm.
- Fifth, as 'Halloweenish' as a brown stem looks on a pumpkin, it is best to choose a pumpkin with bright green stem as it is fresh and less chances of mold growing on it.
- Sixth, mini pumpkins look cute but they might pose a greater risk to children when carving as there is not enough depth or space to carve. They are better for cooking.
- Lastly, the 'warted' pumpkins are fine to use! When my son first saw these pumpkins he thought the pumpkin had chicken pox. But they are only genetically mutated and perfectly fun and unique.
What is the world record for the heaviest pumpkin?
Pumpkin Picking Tips
Tips for Picking the Right Pumpkin to Eat
Pumpkin recipes are not only healthy but very tasty. But here some great tips to choosing that perfect pumpkin to make your recipe even more delicious!
- Smaller size pumpkins, which are about 4-8 lbs, are more favorable when it comes to pumpkin recipes. The reason for this is because smaller pumpkins are higher in sugar content!
- White pumpkin called "Lumina" is one of the very favorites that it used for cooking as it's flesh is bright orange and flavorful.
- Long-necked pumpkins are also very easy to peel and make great tasting pumpkin snacks and desserts.
- When shopping for a pumpkin for cooking, look for labeled brands called 'Lumina', 'Baby pam', ' Autumn Gold', 'Cinderella', 'New England Pie Pumpkin', and 'Ghost Rider'.
Looking for top favorite pumpkin patches in the U.S.?
A Unique Recipe for your Pumpkin
- Cardamom Pumpkin Pie
Cardamom adds a unique and sophisticated back note to classic pumpkin pie in this easy fall recipe.
Happy Pumpkin Picking!
Questions & Answers
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