The Tacoma Boys Guide to Pumpkin Picking
At last, the season is here and it’s time for pumpkin picking at Tacoma Boys! Pumpkins in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors are available at Tacoma Boys. While most pumpkins are edible, some are better for baking and cooking than others. Whether you want to leave it as decoration, carve it into a jack-o-lantern, or cook the pumpkin, there are plenty to choose from.
When pumpkin picking, you’ll find that there are so many varieties to choose from! The versatile squash can have different characteristics and flavor: From smooth and white, to bumpy orange and green, and everything in between. Whatever kind of pumpkin you’re looking for, you’ll find your pick of the patch at Tacoma Boys. Sugar pie pumpkins are great for pumpkin pie or homemade pumpkin puree, which you can then use in other pumpkin recipes. Considered “baking pumpkins,” these are usually small and round. “Carving pumpkins” are ones that can be easily cut into and may have less edible flesh on the inside. Decorative pumpkins and gourds are firm, fibrous, and widely vary in color, size, and shape.
Check out these varieties of pumpkins and more when pumpkin picking at Tacoma Boys:
- Jack-O-Lantern: Your classic carving pumpkin, these pumpkins are large and have little bruises or marks.
- Knucklehead: These are the funky, bumpy, and multicolored pumpkins that are generally just for decoration.
- Cinderella: Round, flat, and deep orange in color, Cinderella pumpkins look just like the coach from the fairytale.
- Ghost: Ghastly white, ghost pumpkins are often carved into jack-o-lanterns, left as autumn decor, or cooked or baked.
- Sugar Pie: These ones are the best for baking and cooking. They’re small and can be treated just like any other winter squash, like butternut.
How to Pick a Pumpkin
If you’re wondering how to pick a pumpkin, first consider what you are going to use the pumpkin for. You might leave it as is for decoration, carve it into a jack-o-lantern, or cook with the pumpkin. This will determine what type of pumpkin or gourd you go for when shopping for pumpkins. Assorted squash are often labeled with the best use for that particular squash. The labeled names of pumpkins can also hint to what the pumpkin is best used for, like jack-o-lantern or sugar pie pumpkins. Pick a pumpkin that is just right for you with these few tips:
- Look for blemishes, nicks, and bruises: These cosmetic damages mean its fitting for a decorative pumpkin, but should be avoided if you want to cook with it. Any signs of rot should be avoided, too.
- Check out the stem: Green pumpkin stems mean it’s still fresh and ready to be carved or cooked. Pumpkins with brown or dried out stems, rather, are best for decoration.
- Knock for hollow space: Knock on the pumpkin like you would with a watermelon. If it sounds hollow with echoes, it’s best for carving. Less hollow pumpkins mean edible flesh on the inside. Either way works just fine for decorative pumpkins
- Consider lopsided pumpkins: If you want to carve the pumpkin, try to envision what it would look like as a jack-o-lantern. If it falls to one side or is drastically uneven, opt for a smoother pumpkin.
Get creative with pumpkin recipes this year! While it’s easy to go for a basic pumpkin-spiced baked dessert or soup, there is so much more to explore in the world of pumpkin. From sweet, to savory, to somewhere in between, you can make pumpkin recipes with pumpkin puree or a whole pumpkin. You can also use pumpkins to present or decorate your dishes — Check out Tacoma Boys’ Buffalo Chicken Dip served in a mini pumpkin!
Cooking and baking with pumpkin puree is convenient because the pumpkin is ready to go. Pumpkin puree is best cooked into sauce and soups or baked into spiced desserts and treats. While most people are familiar with using pumpkin puree in pumpkin recipes, it’s quite simple to cook with a whole pumpkin, too!
Cooking With Whole Pumpkin
A whole pumpkin can be cooked as is or peeled and chopped, like other squashes. It’s actually quite simple to roast a whole pumpkin! For a basic roasted pumpkin dish, all you need is salt and pepper to let the flavors shine through. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cut a small sugar pie pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds and insides. Place the pumpkin halves cut-side up on a baking sheet and drizzle with about a tablespoon of Napa Valley Naturals Avocado Oil. Sprinkle with ground Spice Hunters Black Peppercorn and sea salt. Roast in the preheated oven for approximately 45-50 minutes, depending on the size of your pumpkin, until fork tender. From here, you can scoop it out and blend it into a puree or use it in any other way you’d like!
Or, try one of these other recipes using a whole pumpkin:
- Roast Stuffed Pumpkin by A Virtual Vegan.
- Vegetable Pumpkin Quiche by Eat the Grains
- Swap butternut squash for roasted pumpkin in Tacoma Boys’ own Butternut Squash Alfredo. Just follow the above directions to roast your pumpkin before blending it into that creamy sauce.
- Whole Pumpkin Cheddar Gratin by Teaspoon of Spice.
Tacoma Boys has a wide selection of pumpkins in various shapes, sizes, and colors! You can also find a variety of pumpkin products, like Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk Creamer, Cucina Antica Tuscany Pumpkin Pasta Sauce, and Spice Hunter Pumpkin Pie Spice. To stay up to date on insider deals and specials, sign up for Tacoma Boys’ text list. Just text (253) 246-1661 to tell Paul you want to be on the list!