There's always the good, the bad, and the ugly—even in pumpkins. Pumpkins come in all different shapes and sizes; there are round ones, petite ones, stumpy ones, tall ones, and even lumpy ones that all have their own unique personalities. With all of these differing characteristics, it's hard to tell what pumpkin is the best bang for your buck. Using our helpful tips, you'll be able to pick the best pumpkin in the whole patch.
Skip the line at the grocery store! Go to a pumpkin farm. While it may be convenient to pick up a few pumpkins along with this week's groceries, there's a good chance these pumpkins aren't in the best shape. In their trip from the farm to the grocery store, these pumpkins were probably bumping around in the bed of a truck and handled by multiple people. Plus, who knows how long those pumpkins have been sitting out at the store. Get your pumpkin straight from the source, skipping all the bumps and bruises in the process.
The color of your pumpkin can tell you a lot about it—the darker the color, the better the pumpkin! A dark orange pumpkin is in its prime stages for picking. On the other hand, a pumpkin that is pale and yellow likely won't hold up for much longer. Pay attention to the stem as well—a dark green stem equates to a pumpkin that's ready to be harvested.
Just like watermelons, the best pumpkins have a deep, hollow sound when you tap them. To test for a good one, hold the underbelly of the pumpkin with your hand, place your ear next to the pumpkin, and knock on its side with your knuckles. If you hear an echoing, hollow sound, it's a good one—the louder the sound, the better the pumpkin.
No one wants a mushy pumpkin. Carefully test it with your finger and be sure that the flesh does not give in. Soft spots are a key sign that the pumpkin won't last much longer—the decaying process has begun. This goes for the stem, too! Squeeze the stem to test its firmness. If the stem is soft to the touch, it's not an ideal pick.
Open cuts in your pumpkin are just like human cuts—once open, they're prone to infection. Choose a pumpkin that appears to have no scrapes, bruises, or holes on its surface. Open cuts (even once it's carved) will cause it to rot faster than if your pumpkin was fully intact.