How to choose a pumpkin and have a fantabulous October? No, this isn’t rocket science. Yes, there’s a certain method to my madness.
But first, a confession—I do not like pumpkin pie. I feel a smidgen bad about this. Pumpkin pie is such an American thing. But I’ve never liked pumpkin pie and don’t imagine this will change.
Do you think this adds a blemish to my southern card? Nah, surely not. Not with my sincere love of grits and collard greens, my under-the-sink coffee can filled with bacon drippings, my predisposition to say y’all and lord help and fixin to.
I do love pumpkins in their natural state. A field of pumpkins… Now that’s a thing to behold.
Like most deeply rooted loves, I suppose my fondness for pumpkins goes back to childhood, to pumpkin-carving in the kitchen, Momma’s table spread thick with old copies of The Osceola Times. Naturally, stringy, seedy innards fell everywhere but on the newsprint. We watched It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and considered it the official kickoff to year-end goodness. (Still do.) In October, the pumpkin was our sun— plastic jack-o-lanterns and homemade costumes, the school Halloween carnival, a boatload of candy dumped in the center of our bedroom floor. My sister and I made candy trades all night long…
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. How to choose a pumpkin for porch decoration.
The How and the Where
It’s important to consider how your pumpkins will be displayed. (Pumpkins plural. One is good. Many are better.) I love the white and pale green pumpkins, but they don’t always show up against gray concrete steps. But, sidle one against a terra cotta pot filled with purple mums, and a ghostly white pumpkin will practically dance.
While I may be lured by spooky blue-green pumpkins, there’s nothing like an old-fashioned, straight-from-the-pumpkin-patch variety. Traditional orange provides a bright spot against a gray porch floor.
Linus would agree.
The Shape of Things
A variety of shapes provides interest, too. Flat ones are good for stacking. Round or oval ones are good for carving faces. Fat squatty ones make for wide toothy smiles. Warty, moody ones? Well, they’re just crazy fun.
The Real Answer
Shape and color, yes, I consider both of these factors when selecting my pumpkins. But for me, the real go/no-go on pumpkin-buying rests in its stem.
Twisty and corkscrewed, comma-shaped and tough as a claw, or curly like raffia ribbon—BINGO—the stem makes all the pumpkin difference to me.
How do you choose your pumpkins?
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Vince Guaraldi, Great Pumpkin Waltz