An Orange Green Tip

It’s pumpkin season!! Whether you use them for pies, breads, cookies, lattes, soups or seeds, versatile pumpkins are full of nutrition. Here are some tips from the Old Farmer’s Almanac for choosing and storing your pumpkins this fall. Enjoy!!!

• Your best bet is to harvest pumpkins when they are mature. They will keep best this way. Do not pick pumpkins off the vine because they have reached your desired size. If you want small pumpkins, buy a small variety.

• A pumpkin is ripening when its skin turns a deep, solid color (orange for
most varieties).
• When you thump the pumpkin with a finger, the rind will feel hard and it will sound hollow. Press your nail into the pumpkin’s skin; if it resists puncture, it is ripe.
• Harvest pumpkins and winter squashes on a dry day after the plants have died back and the skins are hard.
• To slow decay, leave an inch or two of stem on pumpkins and winter squash when harvesting them.
• To harvest the pumpkin, cut the fruit off the vine carefully with a sharp knife or pruners; do not tear. Be sure not to cut too close to the pumpkin; a liberal amount of stem (3 to 4 inches) will increase the pumpkin’s keeping time.
• Handle pumpkins very gently or they may bruise.
• Pumpkins should be cured in the sun for about a week to toughen the skin and then stored in a cool, dry bedroom, cellar, or root cellar—anywhere around 55 F.
• If you get a lot of vines and flowers, but no pumpkins, you need more bees in your garden to pollinate the flowers. Grow some colorful flowers next to your pumpkin patch this year and you may get more bees and butterflies!
• The yellowish pumpkins will soon come handy to give the cows. They help out the fall feed, and if there is anything better for cows in milk we should like to know it.
• If you’re saving seeds, they should last for 6 years.

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