The quest for sweet pumpkins

Marina di ChioggaI turned my pumpkins yesterday to expose the wet patch underneath to the sun and air, and stuffed more mulch underneath. Rot is a tragedy we can easily avoid. If you cannot turn your pumpkin because of a short stalk then brush any wet stuff/ slugs/ slaters off from where it sits, and pile up some dry stuff for it to rest upon.

They look ready – fat and full and just like a bought one; but until the stalks have dried (mine haven’t quite), you’d best leave them a bit longer. We are on a quest for sweet pumpkin flesh. And though the vine is yellowing and looking as if it’s lost it’s zest for life, the final, important stages of maturity are happening. The green rind beneath the skin turns yellow/ orange, the seeds ripen, the skin hardens and the flesh turns a deeper hue of orange. For the full expression you must wait till it’s done.

When you deem your pumpkins ready harvest them with the stalk on by cutting where the stalk meets what’s left of the vine. The stalk is key to storage, like a cork in a wine bottle it’s sealing all the goodness in and keeping air and moisture out. To go the full hog and develop the flesh to it’s top potential cure your fruits for 3 or 4 weeks on a netting or slat surface off the ground, somewhere dry, dark and airy before cutting in.

If a frost is expected then you’ll have to cut them – ready or not.


  1. Trish Sarr says

    You write so beautifully, you make things so clear, you always inspire me, Kath. Thank you.