Tips for picking the perfect pumpkin

Oct 16, 2023, 1:00 PM

Family picking pumpkins...

Ryan and Katie Bullock with their children, Tyson, (foreground) Bailey and Davis (in arm) load their pumpkins in the pumpkin patch at the historic Mabey Farm in South Jordan, Utah. (Photo by Tom Smart)

(Photo by Tom Smart)

SALT LAKE CITY —  Halloween is just a few weeks away and pumpkin patches across the state are getting busier.

Picking a pumpkin can be tricky but here are a few tips and tricks for choosing a great gourd. 

Hints and hacks

Heather Limon, the co-owner of Cross E Ranch in Salt Lake City, said the pumpkin should have a firm stem.

“The stem is sort of the giveaway of how long it’s been picked. So, if it’s still green to stem that would mean it’s really freshly cut,” said Limon. “Then, if it’s turned brown that’s not a big deal but it’s been cut a little bit longer,” said Limon. 

However, if you have a brown stem that feels squishy, it probably will not last as long. Limone suggested giving your pumpkin a good inspection. 

“You don’t want any cuts in it or holes or anything that could let air in, you know to make it go bad,” she said. 


According to Limon, pumpkin patches often have more freshly cut options than stores. A normal pumpkin on the porch should last a few months. One that has been carved will only last a few days. 

Hold off on carving those spooky faces until just before Halloween. It will keep your Jack-o-lanterns looking fresh. 

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Tips for picking the perfect pumpkin