If you’ve decided to forgo the canned pumpkin this year and give fresh pumpkin a try, here are some tips for choosing one that won’t let you down.
First, you want to make sure that you’re not buying a Halloween pumpkin. You want the smaller, darker orange sugar pumpkin for cooking.
Then you want to check the rind and make sure it is firm. If the rind is soft, this is a sign of either immaturity or improper storage.
Also look at the color quality of the skin. If it is shiny, the pumpkin may be underripe or waxed (which could mask bad quality).
To avoid mold or bacteria growth, look for a pumpkin with the remnant of a dried-out stem still attached. Give it a little push — if it moves, move on. If it holds firm, you should be O.K.
Once you get your selected pumpkin home, store in a cool spot with good air circulation — not the refrigerator. It should stay good for up to a month.
Of course, if you’re looking for other types of winter squash, these tips work just as well.