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Weather Affects Quality of Pumpkins

“The ideal climate for growing pumpkins lies 4-5 degrees north and south of the 45th parallel,” says Joe Ailts of SeedOutlet.com. “Climates in these areas have sunny warm summers, with an appreciable amount of rain from May through September.” They also don’t get frost in July. In addition, pumpkins thrive when the relative humidity is about 60%.

Weather Affects Quality of Pumpkins

But, you can’t guarantee the weather and when things stray from the ideal or even the norm, crops can be adversely affected. In regions that have experienced heavy rainfall, pumpkins are particularly affected by Phytophthora blight, according to The American Phytopathological Society.

Phytophthora blight “has been described as the ‘most destructive disease of cucurbits’ because ‘nothing causes greater loss’,” says Margaret Tuttle McGrath of Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center. “Total crop loss has occurred in some fields.”

So, as a cook, how does all this affect you? Well, if you’re going to use fresh pumpkin in your recipes, you’ll need to know what to look out for when choosing your pumpkin. Here are few tips offered by The American Phytopathological Society.

  • Check for moldy areas or soft spots and be sure to check the bottom.
  • Healthy stems are green and can support the weight of the pumpkin, so be sure to test the stems.
  • Only use orange pumpkins — yellow ones are not mature and will not have the right flavor.
  • When storing the pumpkin, before cutting, keep it in a dry, shaded place.

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.