How to harvest Hokkaido pumpkin properly

How to harvest Hokkaido pumpkin properly

When is the best time to harvest?

The Hokkaido pumpkin, like around 800 other pumpkin varieties, is one of the winter pumpkins. These are in season in autumn or late autumn and are characterized by their long shelf life. Hokkaido pumpkins are usually harvested between September and November, although - depending on the time of sowing and the weather - some fruits can be ripe by the end of July / beginning of August. Like all winter pumpkins, Hokkaido should only be harvested when fully ripe, but the fruit ripens quickly in a warm and dry location. A harvest in the unripe state is advisable when the weather is already very cold and wet, both of which the fruit does not tolerate particularly well.

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How to recognize a ripe Hokkaido pumpkin

  • bright orange-red color without green areas (exception: green varieties)
  • dry, woody stem with a brownish discoloration
  • Fruit sounds hollow and dull when you tap it

Harvesting a Hokkaido pumpkin - that's how it works

If the Hokkaido is to be stored, you should leave the stem, including a piece of the stem at least one centimeter long, undamaged on the fruit. Otherwise, the pumpkin will quickly start to rot. So cut the fruit above the base of the stem with a sharp knife or secateurs. If possible, do not damage the fruit, because only undamaged pumpkins can be stored for a long time. A pumpkin plant produces several fruits at different ripening times during the harvest period.

Store Hokkaido pumpkin properly

Ripe, undamaged fruits with stems can be stored in a cool and airy place for up to three months. Dry basements or pantries are ideal for this. However, you can also cut up the Hokkaido and freeze it (raw or steamed) or boil it down. Sweet and sour pickled pumpkin is particularly delicious and tastes great with hearty meat dishes.

Tips & Tricks

It is ideal if you grow the tasty Hokkaido together with sweet corn and climbing beans: these three plants complement each other perfectly and you save valuable cultivation space.