Picking the Perfect Pumpkin From a Patch

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Picking a prize pumpkin from a patch does not have to be difficult. This fall, when you visit one of the Texas Hill Country’s many pumpkin patches, keep these tips in mind for finding the perfect fruit. You will soon be a pumpkin picking expert.

Know Before You Go

Picking pumpkins at a patch

Photo: Pixabay/TryJimmy

Before you leave for the patch, know what you want to do with the pumpkin. If you intend to make pumpkin recipes, skip the patch and pick up some winter squash from the grocery store. Smaller pie pumpkins rarely appear in patches, but these less stringy, more flavorful squash are better suited to eating. If you have a carving design in mind, print out a copy to ensure that you purchase a fruit that will be large enough for it. If you’ve never carved before, stick with stencils and a simple design. The fewer cuts you have to make, the easier it will be to carve your first jack o’lantern.

Exterior Appearance

A picture perfect pumpkin

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

You will want the freshest possible fruit to ensure that it lasts a long time. Look at the overall exterior appearance. Avoid squash with dull or green coloring. But you want the stem to be as green as possible, which indicates the farmer more recently picked the squash. Skip any pumpkins that have soft spots or visible bruising because those places will most likely invite rot quickly. It should go without saying that pumpkins surrounded by insects likely have holes in them already and will turn into mush almost overnight on your front porch. Avoid these pumpkins.


Pumpkin carving

Photo: Flickr/Nick Taylor

Though many don’t consider the sound of a pumpkin, it does become important, especially when you want an easy-to-carve fruit. Thicker-skinned pumpkins will require more effort to carve, which could be dangerous for young children. Instead, thump the squash and listen for a hollow sound. This means you have a thin-shelled pumpkin, which will allow a knife to more easily penetrate the surface. With these tips, you will find the perfect carving fruit the next time you visit a pumpkin patch in the Texas Hill Country.