How to recognize ripe Hokkaido pumpkin

How to recognize ripe Hokkaido pumpkin

Knock test gives certainty

Ripe fruits have a rich, orange-red color, with no green areas to be seen anywhere. However, there are also Hokkaido varieties that are green in color, which is why this external characteristic cannot always be used to determine maturity. The knocking test, on the other hand, is more meaningful: if you tap the peel gently with your knuckle, the ripe pumpkin should sound dull and hollow. The base of the stalk also gives an indication of the ripeness of the fruit: It should be dry, possibly already dried out and brownish in color.

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  • Hokkaido pumpkin brings color to autumn
  • How to harvest Hokkaido pumpkin properly
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How to harvest Hokkaido pumpkin properly

Once the pumpkin is ripe, you can harvest it. Be careful not to damage the base of the stem. Otherwise the Hokkaido pumpkin would no longer be storable and would rot quickly. So it is best to cut the fruit with a sharp knife or secateurs at least one centimeter above the stem base.

How to properly store Hokkaido pumpkin:

  • only intact fruit with no damage
  • Do not remove stem attachment (stem can be shortened, however)
  • Do not wash the shell!
  • only store ripe fruits with a hard shell
  • ideal storage temperature: 10 to 14 ° C
  • Store dry and airy, for example hanging in a net

Hokkaido pumpkins can usually be stored for about three to four months. Although many guides say that this pumpkin can be kept for six or even eight months, experience shows that its quality begins to suffer after three to four months. If you don't have a cool, dry storage room (a basement or pantry would be ideal), you can also freeze the Hokkaido pumpkin.

Freeze Hokkaido Pumpkin

  • Cut the raw pumpkin into small pieces
  • remove the pips and stems
  • The shell does not have to be removed
  • Pour portions into the freezer bag or freezer container and freeze

You can also freeze the Hokkaido pumpkin as a ready-made puree, so that it can later be processed into soup or baby food even faster. To do this, cut the fruit into small pieces and let it steam for 20 minutes in a little water. As soon as the pumpkin is soft, pour off the water and mash the pulp to a coarse pulp.

Tips & Tricks

Hokkaido pumpkins should better be harvested before the first frost. Otherwise, the fruits can be quickly damaged in a lot of moisture and cold. In such a case, harvest the fruits unripe and let them ripen in a warm place for another week or two.