the Perfect Pumpkin
Choose a pumpkin that's
not damaged and is evenly firm. Check it all over for nicks,
cuts, pits or soft spots that can lead to rotting and discoloration.
Make sure the stem is
attached. Infections can invade easily and cause rot. Many
rot organisms love sugar, and pumpkins are full of it.
Store it carefully, especially
if you pick it from the vine yourself. Cure a fresh-picked
pumpkin by keeping it in a dry place. Don't handle or disturb
it. Curing toughens the rind, making it less prone to rot.
Use a sharp, clean knife
to cut open the pumpkin. Then clean out the pulp and rinse
the cavity. Use a paring knife to carve the jack-o'-lantern
If you plan to preserve
your pumpkin, decorate it with non-toxic paints, markers or
stickers. The cut flesh will dry out quickly and can rot more
easily, making it unfit for canning or freezing.
Don't waste the flesh.
Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A and potassium. One-half cup of
cooked pumpkin provides more than the recommended daily allowance
of vitamin A. And one cup of cooked pumpkin contains only 81
calories. It's low in fat and sodium, too.
From the University
of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service at http://www.ces.uga.edu