The other day, I brought my friend out to the garden and parted the vines of my ‘Howden’ pumpkin plant, revealing an enormous green fruit.I knew it had something to do with the green color changing to the classic rich orange that this cultivar typically exhibits.As long as you know what to watch out for, you’re sure to pick your pumpkin at its prime, to enjoy as a Halloween decoration, pureed and baked in a pie, or slow-cooked to perfection in your favorite fall soup.By monitoring your Cucurbit plants and keeping your eye out for these five signs, you won’t miss the perfect picking time.An important thing to do is keep tabs on how long your plant has been growing and compare it to the days-to-maturity section on your seed packet.But instead of using this timeframe as a hard and fast rule, just start keeping your eye out for signs of readiness once mid-August hits.So you’ll need to harvest them early and let them ripen indoors if you notice that the weather’s going to cool off significantly, or your first killing frost is on the way.All immature gourds are green, so it’s common sense to assume that a pumpkin isn’t ripe until it turns orange, right?Along with color, one of the most important indicators of squash maturity is the shell, which should be hard and firm if you aim to keep a pumpkin around for a few months.If your nail makes a small dent but does not puncture the skin, that’s a good sign that the rind has matured into a hard shell and it’s time to pick your Cucurbit.The shell will protect the pumpkin from pests and diseases after it’s picked, which means it can be featured as a bright spot of autumnal sunshine on your front porch for a nice, long time.Say your gourd has mostly turned orange, and the vine around it is beginning to succumb to autumn’s cool temperatures.If the stem of your gourd feels hard to the touch, as opposed to being slightly spongy, check the color.The portion of stem that you leave on the gourd will actually continue to provide the last dregs of nutrients to the fruit, meaning it will last longer after it’s harvested.All you need to do is wipe the freshly cut fruit down with a dry cloth, and leave it in a warm, sunny spot for 10 days to two weeks.If your area is extra hot, you may want to provide a few hours of shade each day so the skin doesn’t get sunscald.After a week and a half or so of curing, your pumpkin will store nicely in a cool (50°F or slightly higher), dark, dry place until you can cook it. .
Is Raw Pumpkin Safe to Eat? Benefits, Side Effects, and More
Still, key differences set apart raw and cooked varieties, especially in terms of taste, texture, and nutritional value.Although cooking may lead to a loss of micronutrients, one study found that roasting pumpkin seeds increased their antioxidant, phenol, and flavonoid contents ( 4 ).Soaking and cooking these seeds may also reduce their amount of antinutrients, which are compounds that impair the absorption of certain minerals in your body ( 5 ).Nonetheless, roasting them may increase the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are harmful compounds that are considered carcinogenic ( 6 , 7 , 8 ).If consumed, these bacteria may cause foodborne illness, leading to symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and stomach cramps ( 9 ).It’s also important to practice proper food safety, store pumpkin seeds in an airtight container, and eat them within 2–3 months ( 13 , 14 ).Raw pumpkin can be puréed and mixed into cottage cheese or grated and used as a nutrient-dense topping for salads and baked goods. .
When to Harvest Pumpkins
To further ensure their ripeness, you can also tap on the rind, and you should hear a nice hollow thump like a drum.Select a sharp knife or garden shears and cut the thick stem approximately three to four inches from the top of the pumpkin.Stems are rather delicate and can break off easily, exposing the pumpkin premature rot, pests, and disease. .
How to Cook a Fresh Pumpkin
On the other hand, it is awfully nice to look around on a January morning, and find that we have all I need to make a great dinner – right down to the dessert.They have drier flesh, and thicker walls than a pumpkin you would use for decorating, or to make a jack o’lantern.Pumpkins will actually keep a few months if you have a dry, cool place to put them, where there is no danger of them freezing, and generally speaking, they will have better flavor as they age.Line a large, heavy baking sheet with parchment paper, and set the oven to about 400º.Knock the stem off the pumpkin by tapping it against the counter, or hit with something heavy, like a rolling pin.Bake the pumpkin for 45 minutes to an hour, until a sharp knife easily pierces the side.I lay a piece of plastic wrap over the pumpkin, place a small plate on top, and then weigh it down with some cans – that speeds things up quite a bit.In fact, after an hour, I take off the weights, and stir it around some, then put the plastic wrap, plate and cans back on top and leave it until it stops dripping completely.I do usually put it back in a mesh strainer for a few minutes, because there is always a little more liquid, and if you leave it in, your pie or whatever might end up on the watery side. .
Does it Hurt to Pick a Pumpkin When it Is Green?
Likewise, fruit that has been damaged or harvested when wet will rot prematurely despite going through all the necessary pumpkin ripening stages. .
DIY: How to Process and Eat Your Incredible Edible Pumpkin
You might enjoy growing unusual heirloom varieties of pumpkins for their unique characteristics….In fact, we grow some pumpkin varieties that are so sweet and nutty on their own, that no additional sugar is needed to turn them into pies!This article is intended to be a guide to help you enjoy all the edible parts of your pumpkin, whether home-grown or store-bought.Hopefully, this information will help put more Halloween pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns on dinner tables rather than in landfills, reducing food waste!We love eating various types of edible flowers, many of which are amazing superfoods packed full of nutrition.Pumpkin flowers can also be added to salads, dipped in pancake batter and fried, or chopped and used as a garnish.No matter how you eat them, you’ll enjoy knowing that a single cup of pumpkin flowers offers the following nutrients:.(If that sounds a bit too X-rated for your tastes, just use a q-tip or small paint brush to do the pollination work.).This is done to attract pollinators to the plant before they put energy into producing female flowers.eat them raw in the garden, add them for visual interest to a mixed green salad (the soft yellow petals have the same texture as lettuce), roll them in pancake batter and cook them in a skillet like a pancake (finished with maple syrup or berries), stuff them with goodies and fry them (here’s a good recipe).Pick the younger aged pumpkin leaves for eating, not the older tougher ones.Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, magnesium, copper, and zinc.*Some pumpkin varieties have seeds with white husks over the nut meat, and some just contain the green nutmeat, aka “pepitos.”.A couple of teaspoons of oil per 1 cup of pumpkin seeds is fine.*Don’t worry if there is a little bit of pumpkin “guts” still attached, this cooks up fine and adds some nice flavor and nutrition.As soon as the seeds are in the pan, add some fresh ground sea salt.Stir repeatedly to ensure light, even browning uniformly on the seeds’ surfaces.Your cooked pumpkin seeds will store for about one week at room temperature.Cut your pumpkin into chunks small enough to fit on a baking sheet.A simple test to know when it’s done: you should be able to stick a fork through the biggest chunks of pumpkin without much effort.Remove pumpkin chunks from oven, let cool, then scoop out the meat and put the skin in compost.Put the pumpkin meat in a food processor and blend it until it’s smooth and chunk-free. .