How to harvest your Halloween pumpkins

If you had the foresight to grow your own Halloween pumpkins, the East End Gardener has some tips for harvesting.

You should leave the pumpkins on the plant for as long as possible (although you have permission to pick some tonight for Jack O’Lanterns). You’ll know that the fruit is mature when the stem starts to crack and the skin feels hard. The best test is to give them a tap: if it makes a hollow sound then it’s ready to be picked.

Use a sharp knife to cut the fruit, leaving a long stalk. If you want to eat your pumpkins (and not just carve silly faces into them), leave them in the sun for about 10 days or indoors for4 days to fully ripen.

If you have a glut even bigger than our crowd, you’ll be pleased to hear that pumpkins can be kept for up to six months, so long as you store them in a cool, dry place. So you can enjoy pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup and pumpkin bread all the way through winter.

By Hannah Bass

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