Pumpkin season

Pumpkins are produced almost all over North America, and have been for over 5.000 years! this month, the jack-o’-lanterns are seen on front porches, cafes smell of “pumpkin spice”, you might be visiting a Pumpkin Patch, and October 26 is national pumpkin day and of course, Halloween, is coming up! Pumpkins come in all kinds of sizes, shapes and colors, and they are very versatile. Growing, cooking, or carving? Your choice – It’s pumpkin season!

Pumpkin season

Pumpkins: Where, when & how

Where do pumpkins grow?

Pumpkins are produced all over North America and have been for over 5.000 years. The U.S. is one of the top producers of pumpkins in the world. Morton, Illinois, is the self-proclaimed “Pumpkin Capital” of the world.

What is actually a pumpkin?

Pumpkins are a type of squash, almost a mix between watermelons and cucumbers. They’re round or oval in shape with orange, green, yellow, or white skin. Inside, you’ll find pale flesh and seeds that are edible.
Just like carrots, they are loaded with beta-carotene and also contain the antioxidant lutein. Pumpkin is also a good source of other nutrients such as fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium, all helping your body fight infections and supports good heart health. A cup of cooked pumpkin flesh contains about 50 calories and no fat. Pumpkin seeds, have protein, healthy fats, minerals and a small amount of omega-3 fats. Don’t throw away the seeds!

How to grow pumpkins?

Pumpkins do require a lot of nourishment but pumpkins are easy to maintain. If you want to have pumpkins for Halloween, find out growing time at the seed packet and count backward from around a week before Halloween to know when to sow the seeds. If you are located where the growing season is short, start by sowing indoors in pots, 2 to 4 weeks before last spring frost.
  • Plant in rows 6 to 10 feet apart.
  • Sow seeds 6 to 12 inches apart. When seedlings are 2–3 inches tall, thin to one plant every 18–36 inches.
  • If you are sowing indoors in peat pots, harden off seedlings before transplanting into warm enriched soil.

When to harvest pumpkins

Pumpkins are usually harvested in mid-fall like September and October. A pumpkin is ready for harvest when it’s fully colored—whatever that color might be and the rind should be firm. A good measurement is that if you can pierce it with your fingernail, it’s not ready yet. Also harvest on a dry day!

What to do with Pumpkins

Whole pumpkins, carved pumpkins. Pumpkin pies, lattes, cookies, bread, drinks, and candies. The seeds, as well as the flowers and leaves, are also edible. You can use the whole thing.

  1. Cooking. Enjoy roasted or boiled… Make a soup, risotto, pasta, chowder or why not a curry?
  2. Bake! Make a pure and use in baking. Pies, bread, waffles, muffins, bars – you name it!
  3. Preserve. Pickle, freeze or can!
  4. Carving. Make the best jack o’ lantern on the block!
  5. Save the seeds! Eliminate waste by saving the seeds from our carving pumpkins and roasting them in the oven for a nutritious savoury snack.
Pumpkin pie

How to carve a pumpkin

  • Pick a pumpkin that isn’t bruised, has no mold around the stem and preferably has a quite flat bottom.
  • A knife is not the best or safest tool to use for carving. Instead use pumpkin carving tools or tools you already have at home such as power drills, awls, wood gouges…Use a big spoon to scoop everything out.
  • Rather than making a cap by cutting it at the top, cut your opening in the bottom by first drawing a circle there. Angle your blade toward the center to create a ledge for support when cutting.
  • Clean out the guts and scrape the insides until they are about an inch thick. Save the seeds for a healthy snack!
  • Tape any pattern you are planning to use on and trace with a poking tool.
  • Carving time! PS. If you carve the same design on the back, you will get a spooky shadow on the wall behind too.
  • To preserve your jack ‘o lantern, spritz it with water and store it in the refrigerator while it’s not used.
  • Lit it up using candle, LEDs or string lights. If you are using a candle, cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin toward the back to create chimney for smoke and heat to escape through.

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