How To Pick The Perfect Pumpkin For Cooking, Carving Or Decorating
Here’s how to pick out the perfect pumpkin, whether you are planning on carving a jack-o-lantern or baking up some treats this holiday season.
If you are baking,or carving a pumpkin this year – you’ll need to pick the perfect pumpkin depending on what you are planning to use it for.
- If you are planning on carving a pumpkin, you will need to find one that is thinner and easier to saw into. Thinner pumpkins also have less grainy and stringier insides, making them easier to clean.
- Preferred pumpkins to cook and bake with are usually smaller and more rounded and have dense flesh with a smooth texture and high sugar content. Look for pumpkins that are labeled Small Sugar Pumpkin or New England Pie Pumpkin or the white pumpkin 'Lumina' whose outer shell is white, but its flesh is bright orange.
Pumpkin Types For Carving
- Pumpkin carving enthusiasts often opt for the Hobbit and Autumn Gold types. Both are considered medium-sized and are popular for being very manageable and easy to carve, compared to other pumpkin varieties.
- If you’re looking to get the full detailed jack-o-lantern effect, then you might consider going for the Wolf and Gold Rush pumpkin varieties. These pumpkins are larger and weigh anywhere from 15-35 pounds and can take a beating, but carvers beware because these suckers are harder to carve.
Whether you are making a pie or having a pumpkin carving contest between family members, this handy checklist will help you pick out the perfect pumpkin for Halloween.
What To Look For In A Pumpkin
- Color: Look for a completely orange pumpkin
- Size: Medium for carving; small for cooking; larger for décoration
- Stem: It’s not a handle; the stem will break
- Ripeness: Press thumb to the bottom of the pumpkin and check that the shell is hard and doesn’t dent or scratch easily. Avoid pumpkins with soft spots, cracks, or splits.
- Bugs: Look for bugs or small holes that could mean insect problems
- Set it Down: Make sure it sits flat, otherwise it might roll or topple over
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