Pumpkins are one of the most popular crops in the United States, with 1.5 billion pounds produced each year. Actually a form of squash, they are usually planted in July and reach maturation quickly, in about 100 days, making them ready for fall festivities by mid-to-late September. There are white pumpkins and orange pumpkins, pumpkins for carving, pumpkins for baking, pumpkins for eating, and yes, even pumpkins for catapulting. The monstrous pumpkins, called Big Macs, can weigh hundreds and even thousands of pounds. They get their start in April or May, and are usually grown for competitions and shows.
PICK YOUR PATCH
Sprouts typically offers a lot of varieties of pumpkins, and shall we say at, um, smashing prices! We proudly offer:
Medium to large in size. Solid orange in color. Shapes can range from tall to short to squatty. Best for jack-o-lanterns.
Small in size with stem intact. Great for pies.
These guys are full of character and come with fun and silly faces already painted on.
Best for pumpkin pies. This is the pumpkin used for canning.
Fairy Tale Pumpkins:
Flat with deep round ribs and light tan in color. Also known as Castilla Squash.
An ornamental novelty pumpkin. Deep red-orange, flattened and scarred. It was the prototype for Cinderella's carriage.
Small and greenish in color with green/orange stripes.
White or orange with little stems. Great in centerpiece arrangements.
While you're picking up the perfect pumpkin to carve up for Halloween, consider grabbing an extra one so you can experiment with the culinary possibilities. They are very nutritious, containing potassium (essential for the proper functioning of the heart, kidneys, muscles, nerves and digestive system) and Vitamin A (promotes eye and vision health). And they are almost entirely edible, so roast the seeds for an addictive snack and cook the flesh for soul-soothing pumpkin soup.
DÉCOR TO ADORE!
Spread the pumpkin cheer a little longer! Ever notice how quickly your jack-o-lanterns start to take a turn for the worse? Cutting the pumpkins and exposing their moist flesh to the air promotes decay and mold growth, especially in warmer climates. Avoid the mess and try these alternatives for some fall décor that will last until you're ready to garnish with garland or dust off the dreidel.
Instead of carving a design, draw one. Coat pumpkin with chalkboard paint and let dry. Practice your artistic skills by drawing scary faces or writing festive messages. Choose a larger pumpkin for this project.
Pump some more life into your pumpkin by coating it after carving. This will help keep it moist and retard the spoilage. You can coat the cut edges and interior with Vaseline or vegetable oil, or apply hairspray (only, if you do that, be careful to let it dry thoroughly before putting a candle inside!). You can also mist the cut pumpkin each day to help keep it moist.
Let your inner Martha sparkle and shine! Liberally paint your pumpkin with crafter glue, then quickly and generously cover with super-fine glitter. A cluster of glittered mini-pumpkins would make a stunning centerpiece. Tip: make sure you cover your workspace with newspaper for easy clean-up.
Purchase decorative nails or upholstery studs from crafts store and use to pierce a fun design into your gourd. Try a funky design or even a monogram for a sophisticated flare. You may want to stencil on your desired pattern before you start poking!