Monday, September 29, 2008

Useful Info About Pumpkins

Baking with Fresh Pumpkin

7 uses for one pumpkin!

Here are several tips to keep your pumpkins alive and well a little bit longer:

Kansas State University's Research and Extension horticulturists say the pumpkins that last longest are:

* Fully mature. You can test for this by trying to pierce the rind with your thumbnail. If that́s easy, the pumpkin is too young to harvest. If it́s hard, the pumpkin is ripe.

Then try picking the pumpkin up (but not by its stem!). Fully ripe pumpkins almost seem too heavy for their size

* Soft spot- and blemish-free. Bumps and hard "pimples," on the other hand, have no impact on how quickly pumpkins lose quality. As with pumpkin shape and rind color, theýre just how some varieties grow.

* Stemmed. Outdoor pumpkins, in particular, need a stem to avoid having a water-collecting, spoilage-promoting depression on top. So, dońt chance breaking that stem off by carrying a pumpkin around by its "handle." Stem color is no longer a clue to maturity -- almost all stems now are green. But, a "ripe" stem will be too dry to leak sap.

* Dry and cool - indoors or out. Harvested pumpkins dońt like to be wet. That́s why gardeners in the early 1900s stored their harvest in the attic, rather than the damp basement. You have to remember, though, that cool doesńt mean cold. Pumpkins start to degrade at temperatures below 50 degrees. They can become garbage overnight if they freeze.

* Whole. Carved jack-o-lanterns rarely last more than a week. To extend a jack-o-lanterńs life, paint the face.

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