5 Tips For Picking The Perfect Pumpkin


One of our favorite fall traditions is pumpkin picking. There is just something magical about walking through a pumpkin patch, whether you are a child or an adult. We’ve found over the years however, that picking the perfect pumpkin can be strategic. You don’t want to pick your favorite pumpkin only to get home and realize that it’s the wrong shape for your jack-o-lantern pattern, that the skin is too thick to carve, that the flesh of your pumpkin isn’t all that great for making the pumpkin pie you desired, or, worst of all, that your pumpkin isn’t fresh.

Here are 5 TIPS FOR PICKING THE PERFECT PUMPKIN so that your pumpkin is everything you wanted it to be!


Pumkin picking tips

This contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here for disclosure policy.




Keep purpose in mind



When you arrive at the pumpkin patch and see all the fabulous varieties of pumpkins, it may be harder than you’d think to pick the best pumpkin for your intended purpose. You might be drawn to a pumpkin that is perfect for a particular purpose, but not yours. So, before you head in the wrong direction and pick a pumpkin that is better suited for baking than for carving, keep these tips in mind regarding pumpkins.

  • CARVING PUMPKINS are the most common pumpkins you’ll find at the pumpkin patch. They have been bred especially for carving with pumpkin walls that can withstand cutting and hollow centers perfect for some form of illumination, like an LED tea light.
  • SUGAR PIE PUMPKINS are the most common pumpkins for baking since they have thin skin and the flesh is sweeter than traditional pumpkins. We love this Le Creuset pie dish!
  • KAKAI PUMPKINS produces the best seeds for roasting. Kakai seeds are completely hull-less, which means that hard shell that’s on most pumpkin seeds is not present on these.
  • FANCY PUMPKINS make excellent pumpkins for decorating. Each variety of pumpkin is bred for a different purpose so if there’s a fancy pumpkin you love, check to see if the flesh is also good for baking or soups.






The stem of the pumpkin is the first place you should look to get an idea of how fresh the pumpkin is. If the stem color is dark green or even black, the pumpkin was recently harvested, which is a good first step towards checking to make sure the pumpkin is healthy. If you are unsure about the stem, pick the pumpkin up by the stem. If it breaks, you know to move on because the pumpkin has been harvested for some time. Also, depending on the purpose of the pumpkin, look for a stem that you can handle. If the stem has been cut too short, it might be hard to transport or to remove the “lid” once it’s been made into a jack-o-lantern. P.S. Wagons work great for transporting pumpkins!







The color of the pumpkin should be uniform for traditional pumpkins or pumpkins that are not of the “fancy” variety. If the color is patchy or has dark spots, that’s a pretty good indicator that the pumpkin is not fresh. Small dark spots can indicate decay or bug infestation.




avoid not firm



The first place you should check for firmness is the bottom of the pumpkin. It may look and feel firm on the parts of the pumpkin you can see, but if the bottom is soft, give it a pass. This means that the pumpkin is already on its way out. Don’t be afraid to put a little pressure on your fingers when you are feeling for freshness. If the pumpkin is truly fresh, it can withstand the pushing. If you find any soft spots on the pumpkin, remember to move on in your search.







When all is said and done, make sure you pick your favorite pumpkin. You need to love its color, shape, and size (as well as know that it is fresh and works for the intended purpose). Picking a pumpkin is definitely personal, and there’s no greater feeling than going home with the perfect pumpkin for you! (smiling)




Do you have any great tips for picking the perfect pumpkin?



Need Ideas for your new pumpkins? Look here…



diy lace ribbon pumpkins pumpkin decorating ideas
DIY Lace & Ribbon Pumpkins {pumpkin decorating ideas}



Ways to decorate pumpkins
20 Spook-tacular Ways to Decorate Your Pumpkins




Laurie Turk the Tip Junkie
Promoting creative women through their tutorials and products.
~ Laurie {a.k.a. the Tip Junkie}

P.S. Join the conversations over on the Tip Junkie Facebook page. It’s a great place to ask questions on how to make things or for specific tutorials you need.


girls carrying pumpkin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *