Picking the Perfect Pumpkin | Family Road Trip Ideas

Shares

Visiting the pumpkin patch with the family in the fall is a time-honored tradition. Whether you live in the country and have easy access to pumpkin farms, or you and your family plan a pumpkin picking road trip every year, there are a few things you should keep in mind when selecting the perfect gourd. Your plans for the pumpkin, whether for decorating or baking, will have a major influence on the variety and characteristics of your pumpkin. Here’s a simple guide to picking out the perfect pumpkin during your fall family road trip.

Picking the Perfect Pumpkin | Family Road Trip Ideas

Carving pumpkins

  • Shape and size: Carving pumpkins are the most common type of pumpkin, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The one you choose will depend on the design you decide to carve into the pumpkin. A jack-o-lantern will look great on just about any pumpkin, while more intricate stencil designs may require a larger, smoother, more regularly shaped gourd. It’s also a good idea to find a pumpkin with a relatively flat bottom so it can easily rest upright.
  • Ripeness: Pumpkins stay in an ideal ripe state for a long time, so finding a properly ripe pumpkin shouldn’t be difficult. Try to stay away from pumpkins that have a lot of green coloring or, on the other end of the ripeness spectrum, are beginning to get soft. Bruising or softness can mean that the pumpkin will begin to rot soon, which could reduce the lifespan of your carved masterpiece.

Cooking and baking pumpkins

  • Taste and texture: While carving pumpkins are great for Halloween decorations, they don’t taste very good. If you’re making pumpkin pie, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin soup or pumpkin bread, you’ll want a gourd that is specifically grown to be eaten. Certain varieties are known for their sweet taste and smooth texture. Check out Cinderella Pumpkins, Pink Bananas, Sugar Pies, Blue Hubbards or Red Kuris for your next fall-inspired dish.
  • Hardness: Ripe pumpkins develop a hard exterior skin when ripe. This shell allows them to keep for up to several months in a cool pantry, so make sure your pumpkin is fully ripe and solid before picking. If you can break the skin with a fingernail, it’s probably not ready yet.

 

Why drive to the grocery store for a pumpkin when you can plan a family road trip to a farm and pick one yourself? Look for patches in rural areas where you live, and use this guide to help you find the perfect pumpkin. Make a day out of it—check out pumpkin farms that may be farther away but offer a larger variety of pumpkins for carving and baking. 

Shares

22 thoughts on “Picking the Perfect Pumpkin | Family Road Trip Ideas

  • October 10, 2014 at 9:01 am
    Permalink
    I look forward to taking the kids to a pumpkin patch every year. The one that is near us has other fun things you can do in addition to finding a pumpkin like hay rides, corn maze, etc. I think we might go this weekend. Reply
  • October 8, 2014 at 1:59 pm
    Permalink
    For a long time I never really thought about carving pumpkins not being so perfect for eating. But they're awesome for seeds for roasting! Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 11:42 pm
    Permalink
    I had no idea so much went in to picking a pumpkin. I thought if it was orange, I was good to go. Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 11:04 pm
    Permalink
    These are great tips, and I'll definitely be using them. We usually just get our pumpkins from the store, but this year, we decided to go pick them instead. So glad I read this! Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 11:00 pm
    Permalink
    I love getting pumpkins and carving them. Going to the local pumpkin patch is a great family activity. Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 9:20 pm
    Permalink
    Thanks for the great tips. I had no idea there were so many different types of pumpkin. Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 8:19 pm
    Permalink
    Great tips. We aren't getting pumpkins this year but next year I hope to have our first family trip to the pumpkin patch. Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 7:58 pm
    Permalink
    Great tips. We only get baking pumpkins for baking - we do not do pumpkin carving. I wonder if the same tips apply to baking pumpkins. Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 7:40 pm
    Permalink
    I am so excited to eat my Cinderella pumpkins after Halloween! Plus, I love pumpkin seeds too. Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 4:15 pm
    Permalink
    These are great tips. Picking our pumpkins is a tradition I look forward to every year! Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 2:09 pm
    Permalink
    A Pink Banana pumpkin? I've never heard of that variety, but I do know some pumpkins are better for eating than others.Are eating pumpkins also denser and less hollow? Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm
    Permalink
    What great tips. We used to get great pumpkins when we lived on the NE but since moving to TEXAS we have yet to find any great ones... ones for carving and eating... LOL Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 1:33 pm
    Permalink
    These are great tips! I am going to keep this in mind when we pick out our pumpkins. Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 11:05 am
    Permalink
    My boys just pick ones they like, but as long as they have fun I'm happy! Reply
  • November 15, 2012 at 3:18 pm
    Permalink
    I would LOVE to go to a pumkin patch - I never have.  Great info here on picking pumpkins! Reply
  • November 9, 2012 at 9:54 am
    Permalink
    I've been wanting to make a pumpkin dish out of the real thing instead of the can and wasn't quite sure how to go about doing it.  Thanks for the info, now I now, as I suspected, that is does matter which type you choose. Reply
    • November 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm
      Permalink
      You're welcome! You will have to let me know what you end up making :) Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *