Last Updated on October 30, 2022
The big question on most farmers’ minds is how to know when a pumpkin is ripe or ready for harvest. Usually, the color is a good indicator of pumpkin ripeness and the color of most ripe pumpkins is usually orange. But they can as well come in other shades such as blue, white, grey, and even stripe colors.
Pumpkin is from the family of Cucurbitaceae and they fall under winter squash. We have over 50 varieties of pumpkin. The round orange pumpkin is one of the most common or recognizable pumpkins.
In this article, we will be sharing great tips on how to know when a pumpkin is ripe or ready for harvest. So, let’s get right into this.
Some Info On Pumpkin
Pumpkin is from the gourd family. Pumpkin is a smooth, round, and partially cultivar of winter squash. It has ribbed-like skin and the most common colors tend to be deep yellow to orange.
It is a nutritious plump nutritious vegetable and it is loaded with great nutrients. Pumpkin has a low-calorie composition. It is as well loaded with vitamins and minerals and these nutrients are included in its seeds, leaves, and juice.
There are many ways to use pumpkins in our dishes. Pumpkin can be integrated into soups, salads, desserts, preserves, as well as a substitute for butter.
Pumpkins are as well used in decorations such as Halloween decorations. They can also be pureed and baked in a pie or you can slow cook them to perfection in your favorite fall soup.
How Do You Know When A Pumpkin Is Ripe: Helpful Tips
Pumpkin offers many signs once they are ready for harvest. As long as you know what to watch out for, it’s pretty easy to know how to tell if pumpkin is ripe.
So here are 5 signs on how to tell when pumpkins are ripe:
1. Right Time Of The Year
Generally, most squash from different varieties takes about 3 to 4 months or even 5 months to attain maturity. This also depends on your climate, the growing conditions, and the variety planted.
Therefore, the easy way to know when a pumpkin is ripe is by simply keeping a good watch and knowing how long it has been growing. You should compare the growing period to the days to maturity that are on your seed packet.
An important thing to note is that pumpkins can only tolerate light frost and will not get ripe after you’ve harvested them after they’ve been exposed to heavy frost. Therefore, before the frost in your area gets heavy, ensure you harvest all your pumpkin on time.
Also, they shouldn’t be exposed to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. You can simply pick your pumpkin early and allow them to get ripe indoors if your first killing frost is approaching.
2. Desired Color Change
As a general rule, a change in the desired color is a good indicator your gourd is ripe and ready for harvest. Golden-orange is a sign of the fruit attaining maturity.
Generally, an immature gourd tends to remain green. Therefore, it’s safe to say the pumpkin isn’t matured yet when it’s still green.
However, there are times when a squash refuses to turn orange even after the stem has died off. If this is the case, the fruit can be ripened off the vine.
3. Hard To Puncture Rind With Fingernails
To know when a pumpkin is ripe, the rind of your pumpkin should be hard and difficult to puncture with your fingernail. This is one of the most popular signs of squash attaining maturity.
When you puncture the rind of the pumpkin and your fingernails create a small dent and the skin doesn’t puncture, that’s a good indicator your pumpkin is ready for harvest.
Professional Pumpkin Carving Kit – Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Tools and Knives with Carrying Case (8 Pieces)
If you’re however growing pumpkin pie, harvesting should be done when the fruit rind is firm but not hard as a rock. This is important especially if you wish to make pies within the next week or you wish to roast and puree the flesh to store in the freezer.
4. Stem Turns Brown
Once you notice the stem of your gourd becomes hard to touch instead of being slightly spongy, check the color of the stem. If the stem is beginning to dry out and turn brown, then the stem is dying. This means the supply to the plant is diminishing.
However, you can still leave the gourd and allow the entire vine to die around your squash before harvesting them. but ensure this is before the first sign of frost.
5. A Hollow Sound Is Generated When You Knock The Rind
Another method on how to know when a pumpkin is ripe is to gently knock the rind. When you hear a hollow thunk sound, then that’s an indication that it’s ready for harvest.
How To Harvest Pumpkin
We now know when a pumpkin is ripe and ready to be picked. Let’s now briefly look into how to harvest them.
Use a clean sharp tool or knife to harvest pumpkin. Measure the stem at least 3 to 5 inches from the top of the fruit then cut the stem away from the vine.
The part of the stem you’ve left on your fruit will actually keep o supplying the last residue of nutrients for your fruit. This means it will last long after you must have harvested them.
It’s important you don’t carry the fruit by the stem as this isn’t a handle. If by any chance the stem breaks off, your fruit will immediately begin to rot. So, ensure you give some support to the sides and base while you carry your squash.
How can you tell if a pumpkin is ripe?
When it comes to growing pumpkins, you can choose from a wide variety of varieties. However, once you have selected your pumpkin, it is time to get ready for harvest. Once you begin the process of harvesting your pumpkin, you will want to know when it is time to cut it open. There are several methods that you can use to determine if your pumpkin is ripe.
1. Check The Flesh Color
One of the best ways to tell if your pumpkin is ripe is by checking its flesh color. Pumpkins with darker orange flesh tend to be sweeter than those with lighter flesh. If you are unsure about the color of your pumpkin, you can take a look at our article on how to choose the perfect pumpkin.
2. Look For A Pumpkin’s Shape
If you are going to be eating your pumpkin straight out of the ground, you may want to look for a pumpkin that has a round shape.
3. Listen For Pumpkin Seeds
If you have ever picked and eaten a fresh pumpkin, then you know how loud they can be when you crack them open. Pumpkin seeds, however, are much quieter. They are usually only audible if you are right next to the pumpkin when it is being picked.
4. Check The Pumpkins’ Stem
It is easy to tell if a pumpkin’s stem is hard or soft. If it is soft, it means that it is still growing and will not be ready for carving until the next fall. If it is hard, it means that the pumpkin is ready to be harvested. If you plan to carve your pumpkin, you should look for pumpkins with stems that are hard and have no cracks.
What should you consider when picking a pumpkin at the store?
If it had been picked too early it will be small and not ready to eat. If you wait too late, the pumpkin will have started to dry out and become tough. You can’t use a pumpkin that is too ripe or soft because it will just fall apart.
Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect pumpkin for your recipe.
The first thing you should do is look at the size of the pumpkin.
It is always best to buy a pumpkin that is the same size as your dish. This way you will get the most use out of your ingredients and it will cook evenly. It is also important to note that pumpkins get bigger as they mature so make sure to check the size before you buy.
If you want to cook the pumpkin in its skin, you may want to look for a smallish pumpkin. If you remove the skin, you can use any size pumpkin. It all depends on what you are cooking. The color If you like the color of the pumpkin, then that is great. However, if you don’t like the color, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it.
What happens if you pick a pumpkin too early?
They quite simply won't last very long.
Conclusion On How To Know When A Pumpkin Is Ripe
It’s pretty fun growing and harvesting pumpkin. How to know when a pumpkin is ripe is also not difficult to determine. Kindly look through the helpful tips we’ve outlined for you and you can easily learn when the right time is to harvest your pumpkin.
Eunice is an enthusiastic gardener with a passion for growing beautiful flowers. She loves nothing more than spending time in her garden, tending to her plants and enjoying the outdoors. Eunice has been gardening for over 15 years and has developed a unique style of landscaping that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. She is especially fond of growing roses and enjoys experimenting with different varieties and colors. Eunice takes great pride in her garden and often shares the fruits of her labor with friends and family. In her spare time, she enjoys reading gardening magazines and attending local horticulture events. Eunice is passionate about her hobby and is always eager to share her knowledge and experience with others.