The smell of homemade pumpkin pie or ambiance of pumpkins all around symbolizes the joy of autumn. However, an overripe pumpkin can quickly spoil that joy because these pumpkins don't look as robust and firm and they don't have suitable pulp for baking and preparing other recipes. The inside of the pumpkin may have a foul odor and bad taste from bacteria breeding. Whether you harvest your own crops or buy pumpkins at the grocery store, follow a few simple steps to ensure that you don't choose overripe pumpkins.
Look at the color of the pumpkin to see if it has a uniformly medium orange shade and a hard rind. Immature pumpkins have a greenish-orange color and overripe pumpkins become dark orange.
Check for blemishes and bruises. Pumpkins begin to develop flaws as they become too ripe. However, this can also happen if a person drops and damages the pumpkin.
Hold the pumpkin to see if it's firm on all sides. An overripe pumpkin starts to become less firm with soft spots on the exterior.
Smell the pumpkin to see if you can sense any odors coming from it. Ripe pumpkins have a light sweet scent, but you may not smell anything (which is fine). Overripe pumpkins emit a faint foul odor that gradually intensifies as the pumpkin continues to ripen.
Check the pumpkin to make sure it has no signs of powdery mildew anywhere on the exterior. When a pumpkin becomes too ripe it can develop mildew as it starts to rot.
- University of Illinois Extension: Harvesting and Storing Pumpkins, Winter Squash, and Gourds:
- University of Illinois Extension: Pumpkin Selection; Ron Wolford and Drusilla Banks
- University of Illinois Extension: Growing Pumpkins; Ron Wolford and Drusilla Banks
- University of Illinois Extension: Questions and Answers; Ron Wolford and Drusilla Banks
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