Harvest & store pumpkins and gourds
Harvest your pumpkins when the vines are dry, and fruit is an even deep orange or characteristic color of the variety. The rind should be hard and not easily punctured. Cut a 3-6 inch stem with a sharp knife or pruning shears. Lift the pumpkin from the bottom not by the stem to avoid breaking off the stem. Pumpkins should be free of cuts, scratches or bruises.
Clean your picked pumpkin with a light chlorine solution to help avoid fungal or bacterial rotting. Sources recommend that a newly harvested pumpkin should be cured @ 80 degrees and 80% humidity for 7-10 days to finish ripening(curing) and heal over any surface bruising but its not always practiced and may not be necessary.
After curing, store them in a dry, cool place with good air circulation and temperatures around 50-55F degrees with relative humidity of 50-70%. Properly stored pumpkins (50-55 F) can last up to 2 months but if stored in warmer temperatures (70 degrees) only 2 weeks.
Avoid any ethylene gas exposure, don’t store pumpkins with apples or other fruits. Do not store them on hard surfaces like concrete or stack them on top of each other.
Today there are many types of Pumpkins to choose from, some varieties make great Jack-o-Lanterns, whereas others are better for pies.
Choosing a pumpkin
Looking for that perfect pumpkin for your Jack-O-Lantern? Here are some tips that might help.
-Pick a pumpkin with a green stem that is free of bruises, discolorations and soft spots
-Don’t carry the pumpkin by the stem, it can easily break off .
-A thicker walled pumpkin will allow for more imaginative carving.
-Store your pumpkin in a cool, dry place, not freezing until you decide to carve it.
-When carving your pumpkin, tell the Irish folktale tale of Jack-O-Lantern .
Make a delicious snack. When you’re finished carving the pumpkin-Don’t throw out the seeds!!
It’s simple and easy to make a tasty snack:
Here’s how: Separate the seeds from the pulp, rinse, drain and spread out on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle coarse or seasoned salt on the seeds and bake at 300F. for 30 min. Let them cool and Enjoy!