UT Offers Advice On Picking Halloween Pumpkin

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Selecting a Halloween pumpkin is not just a matter of walking into a grocery or road-side market and choosing one.

Wade Sperry, a University of Tennessee plant and soil scientist, offers some tips on how to choose a good pumpkin.

 “Look for one with the stem attached,” Sperry says. “Stemless pumpkins have a greater tendency to become soft and diseased quickly.”

 Washing or dipping a Halloween pumpkin in a solution of 20 percent chlorine bleach and 80 percent water will “reduce rots and prolong usefulness,” Sperry advises.

 “Inspect pumpkins for soft or unusually dark areas. These usually mean the pumpkin has some disease and will quickly rot,” he says.

 “Never choose a pumpkin from a stack that was more than four deep. The weight of the pumpkins on top will damage the shells of those on the bottom, setting the stage for disease.”

 Halloween-type pumpkins are orange and range in weight from more than 100 pounds to the miniature ornamental pumpkins which are usually about 3-4 inches in diameter.

 “You can carve or decorate both,” Sperry says.

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 Contact: Wade Sperry (615-832-6802)