How to Pick the Perfect Pumpkin

With Halloween fast approaching, it’s finally time for one of our favorite holiday traditions – carving pumpkins! The Central Coast has an ample selection of quaint family farms where you can select your perfect pumpkin right where it was grown. Don’t get caught in the grocery-store trap, but make sure to get your carving pumpkin from an actual farm, where’s it’s likely fresher, healthier, and better quality than something you would get under florescent lights in a supermarket. Try Avila Valley Barn, Brookshire Farms, SLO Creek Farms, Jack Creek Farms, and Chesebro Farms. With all that’s at stake this holiday season, you’ll be sure to want to find the right pumpkin that will support all your carving dreams. Follow these tips to find the best pumpkin on the patch!

1. Check that it is firm all around

A good carving pumpkin should be firm all the way around, so make sure to check this first. Even if it looks perfect, a pumpkin could have mushy spots that would make carving later disastrous. A good rule of thumb is to pick a pumpkin that seems firm and heavy for its size.

2. Check the stem

First of all, you’ll want the stem to be solidly attached and easy to grab. Additionally, a green stem, as opposed to brown or darkly colored, means that the pumpkin is fresher.

Photo: (c) @rane0nine

Photo: (c) @rane0nine

3. Consider different varieties

The best pumpkins for carving are your standard variety orange Jack-o-lantern pumpkins. However, if you’re looking to be creative by painting pumpkins too, you could try some other useful types, including Orange Smoothie, Cotton Candy, and Lumina varieties.

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4. Place your pumpkin on a flat surface to make sure that it will stand straight after carving

Don’t run into a wobbly pumpkin after you’ve spent so much time carving and beautifying it! Before buying your pumpkin, place it on a flat surface to make sure that it can stand straight on its own. You’ll want to display the fruits of your labor and creativity!

5. Check for blemishes

You’ll want to avoid any blemishes, even if they seem small! Brown blemishes on an otherwise perfect pumpkin can indicate that bugs have been chewing away. Make sure to check for blemishes such as these to ensure the health of your pumpkin.

Photo: (c) @kitty_marie650

Photo: (c) @kitty_marie650

6. Evaluate Thickness

This tip is helpful when it’s time to use your pumpkin. If you’re looking for a pumpkin for cooking, finding a very thick one would be ideal. However, if you’re looking to carve, you’ll definitely want a pumpkin with thinner walls that will be easier to cut through.

7. Follow Your Heart

The perfect pumpkin is going to be the one that you love the most, and that can’t be defined by a list. Sometimes the imperfect pumpkins, with bumps and lumps, can be the best. Picking a pumpkin is all about the experience, so have fun with it!

jack-creek-farms

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