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Picking the Perfect Mississippi Pumpkin: Jack-O-Lanterns, Pies, and What to Do with the Leftovers

JACKSON, MISS– Fall is here, and that means Mississippi pumpkins are selling like hotcakes. Whether you get your pumpkin from the patch, produce stand or produce section, the ones from Mississippi are the best. 

Pumpkins are good for everything from decoration, pictures with kids and food. But you’ve got to pick the perfect pumpkin for the purpose, and that’s why News Mississippi went pumpkin pickin’ with the pros.

When it comes to jack-o-lanterns, you’ll need either a small to medium size pumpkin for the basic design. Looking for something a little more intricate? The bigger the better. Either way, Ann King with Freshway Produce says there’s a few things you need to know before you take a pumpkin home to carve:

“Soft spots mean it has already started to rot,” says King, “it would go in a few days at that point.” King adds that you shouldn’t get too excited over your pumpkin. Don’t cut it until the week of Halloween if it is for decoration, because it could spoil. King also adds that she’s heard wives’ tales about treating pumpkins with vinegar to preserve them once they’re cut, but that she finds it easier to just work with a fresh pumpkin that week.

But jack-o-lanterns aren’t the only treat you can get from pumpkins. Scoop out the stringy insides and seeds, bake the pumpkin, and that puree could become anything from pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin smoothies, and pumpkin cookies. The most famous pumpkin treat though, is the pumpkin pie, and King says picking a pie pumpkin is different from a jack-o-lantern pumpkin:

A three pound pumpkin will make one pie. If you want to make more, go a little bigger. If you end up with too much, you can save the puree for later. It’s simple, really, says King:

And there’s plenty more to do with a Mississippi pumpkin.

 

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