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How to Pick a Perfect Pumpkin

Updated on September 7, 2014

Picking a perfect pumpkin is a fun and easy task with just a little pumpkin know how

Pumpkins play a prominent role during fall's two favorite holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving. Pumpkins are fun to carve and make festive decorations. They are delicious to eat in all sorts of pumpkin recipes including pie, bread, muffins, deserts and more. Picking the perfect pumpkin is a fun and easy task when you know what to look for depending on how you'll be using said perfect pumpkin. There's a large variety of pumpkins, each with its own special benefits.

How to pick a perfect eating pumpkin

Tap your finger nail on the pumpkin and see if it leaves an indentation. If it does it means that the rind is not fully formed yet and will end up going bad quickly. If it doesn't leave a mark then the flesh is mature and it is a perfect pumpkin choice.

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The Perfect Pumpkin for Pie

Sugar Pie Pumpkin

Sugar Pie Pumpkins are the perfect pumpkin for baking a pie. It has a thin skin with a very sweet flesh.

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The Perfect Pumpkin: Growing/Cooking/Carving - Book by Gail Damerow

This awesome pumpkin book covers over 95 varieties of pumpkins and the many ways in which you can use them. Some of these unique perfect pumpkin uses include: pumpkin soap, bath oil, fried pumpkin blossoms, pumpkin brioche and pumpkin beer. It also covers some of the more traditional uses of the perfect pumpkin such as how to carve a beautiful jack-o-lantern or how to grow a perfect pumpkin.

What do you want a perfect pumpkin for?

Do you want a perfect pumpking for eating or for decorating?

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Perfect Pumpkins with a dual purpose

A great Halloween decorating idea is to paint eating pumpkins with non-toxic paint. This is a beautiful and festive way to decorate your home for the Halloween season. Best of all you can save the pumpkin until you're ready to make it into a Halloween or Thanksgiving pumpkin recipe and it will still be good to eat. If kept in a cool dry place they can last up to 5 or 6 months.

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The Perfect Dual Purpose Pumpkin

Cinderella Pumpkin

Cinderella Pumpkin's are the perfect both if you want a beautiful decoration and also for baking a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie or making a winter squash recipe. These pumpkins get their name because it's the type of pumpkin Cinderella's carriage was transformed from by her fairy godmother.

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perfect pumpkin carving
perfect pumpkin carving

How to pick a perfect carving pumpkin

A perfect carving pumpkin is whichever one you feel drawn to or whichever your child picks. Even if it's not technically a perfect looking pumpkin and has bumps or dings it's all about fun. Whenever I go pumpkin picking with my kids I tell the controlling Mother in me to go take a nap and whatever pumpkin my kids bring to me no matter what it looks like is the pumpkin we go with. If they like it then to me it is the perfect pumpkin.

However if kids are not involved and you really want the most technically perfect pumpkin here are some tips. Pick a pumpkin that is firm and heavy with a green stem. Look for a pumpkin with consistent coloring, that doesn't leave an indentation when pressed, and does not have any soft spots, mold or cuts. Once you've found a pumpkin you think might be perfect place it on a flat service and see if it will sit flat after being carved and not tip over.

The Perfect Pumpkin for Carving

Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin

The Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin is of course the perfect pumpkin for carving since they were specifically bred for that purpose. They have straight and thick walls that are very fibrous so they hold up to being carved. They come in all sizes and can become quite large so it's perfect for having flexibility of carving and it's easy to fit a candle inside.

The Perfect Pumpkin for Seeds

Kakai Pumpkin

Kakai Pumpkin's are the perfect pumpkin for seeds. Though you can eat the seeds from any pumpkin these are good in particular because they have been genetically engineered to have completely hull-less seeds so they can be eaten directly without hulling (removing seedcoat tissues).

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  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Ready in: 1 hour 10 min
  • Yields: 2 cups


  • 2 cups pumpkins seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbs melted butter
  • 1 1/4 tsp seasoned salt


  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
  2. 2. Rinse the pumpkin seeds in water and dry with a paper towel. Place seeds a medium sized bowl. Add the Worcestershire sauce, melted butter and seasoned salt. Stir until pumpkin seeds are evenly coated. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. 3. Bake for about 1 hour stirring occasionally. Pumpkin seeds should be crisp, dry and golden brown.
  4. Image Credit
5 stars from 1 rating of Perfect Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Gift Basket

This ceramic Pumpkin Thanksgiving Gift Basket is the perfect hostess gift or just a surprise for the family. It's filled with gourmet treats and sweets. The pumpkin container can be reused as a decoration or even a planter.

The Perfect Pumpkin Planter Halloween Gift Basket

Whether you're looking for a gift someone else or yourself this Perfect Pumpkin Planter Halloween Gift Basket is a perfect choice. It features a heavy duty ceramic pumpkin planter (8.75"D x 5.25"H), assorted hard candies, gourmet caramel corn, chocolate covered sunflower seeds, pumpkin spice gourmet coffee, a box of chocolates filled with caramel and nuts, a Halloween twirl pop, caramel praline gourmet hot chocolate mix and Ghirardelli double chocolate hot cocoa mix.

© 2012 Melissa Miotke

What is your favorite use of a perfect pumpkin? - Carving, eating, roasting pumpkin seeds, etc.

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    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 3 years ago

      If you have a cute little pumpkin picker you are pretty much set.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 3 years ago from Kansas

      I'll need this soon. We will be picking some out.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      It's almost that time again. Very helpful! I didn't realize there were all those different varieties of pumpkins. Cinderella pumpkin...very nice. I like the way you added the pumpkin seed recipe!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      Lots of pumpkin fun here.

    • profile image

      cmadden 4 years ago

      Carving - though we haven't done it for a few years.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I learned a lot about pumpkins. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very nice lens, Melissa. Visiting a pumpkin patch with children gives them fond memories, and us parents and grand parents too. - I love recipes that are yummy to eat with pumpkin. They are decorative, and fun to carve. :)

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      love your pumpkin beauties and recipes.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      Happy Halloween blessings to you!

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Very well done article! Happy Halloween and Angel Blessings to you. :)

    • radhanathswamifan profile image

      radhanathswamifan 5 years ago

      Eating.. But after seeing this lens, can consider decorating also!:)

    • gregs411 profile image

      gregs411 5 years ago

      Did not know there were many varities of pumpkins. I love pumpkin pie, one of my favorites. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am just looking for perfect decorating pumpkin (: Thanks for sharing those tips!

    • profile image

      johnsja 5 years ago

      Great ideas for pumpkins.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow, I love your lens. The idea: to paint eating pumpkins with non-toxic paint is really amazing. Thank you for sharing.

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      I always have to have more than one pumpkin because I want one that is carved into an art piece (I loved the "Betty" version my daughter did) and I want one that is transformed into baked seeds and creamy cakes. mmmmmm :)

    • profile image

      Noveliaa 5 years ago

      Excellent lens! Squidlike

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Carving can be great experience!

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      A prefect pumpkin blessed and added to my lens...Squid Angel flinnnie.

    • TaraWojt profile image

      Tara Wojtaszek 5 years ago

      I had no idea there were so many different types of pumpkins. Thanks for the info and tips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I liked looking at these pumpkins.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I liked looking at these pumpkins.

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 5 years ago

      I love this lens, so pumpkinny! :) Blessed.

    • Diva2Mom profile image

      Diva2Mom 5 years ago

      I love to make some Pumpkin soup and Pumpkin cakes :). Pumpkins are wonderful, and you highlighted the beauty of Pumpkins by the way you presented this fascinating lens. Great job dahlin! Immensely BLESSED by a little Squid Angel. God bless you! Huge hug! muah!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I like pumpkin, it's delicious, I love this page :)

    • profile image

      AngelaKane 5 years ago

      I like to make pies and other things with the pumpkins. Great photos and lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Picture perfect! :)

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I just love looking at pumpkins. Boo-lessed ... Happy Halloween!

    • Cam Marotta profile image

      Cam Marotta 5 years ago

      This lens is getting me in the fall spirit. Thanks!

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 5 years ago

      I love eating pumpkin pie, but I always use canned pumpkin for that. I really enjoy picking a pumpkin for carving - I like them nice and plump with a good stem.

    • Rhidawn profile image

      Rhidawn 5 years ago

      I love pumpkins!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      It's hard not to enjoy eating pumpkin pie or pancakes, but carving is still the most fun.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      What a great, wonderful guide - blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • EdwardZhang profile image

      EdwardZhang 5 years ago

      Hey, Thanks for Sharing great tips to pick up perfect pumpkin for Carving, eating, roasting pumpkin seeds, etc. & i use perfect pumpkin for decorating.

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 5 years ago from Arizona

      @Nimsrules LM: Thanks:) That's my girl!

    • Riesling profile image

      Riesling 5 years ago

      You are really the Halloween Queen :-)

    • Nimsrules LM profile image

      Nirmal Shah 5 years ago from India

      The lens's great no doubt but the cute girl's the one who brought me here :P

    • MelissaRodgz profile image

      MelissaRodgz 5 years ago

      I love pumpkins. You can do so much with them. I love carving them. Excellent tips on picking the perfect one.

    • RazzbarryBreeze profile image

      RazzbarryBreeze 5 years ago

      Definitely for decorating. Thanks for the great tips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      interesting tips to pick up perfect pumpkin thanks for sharing