Pick your pumpkin

Hooray – it’s pumpkin season!

Use them for jack-o-lanterns, Thanksgiving decoration or eat them in curries, breads and my favourite, sweet rich pumpkin pie! Tam was recently on Edmonton’s CTV Morning Live to show off Prairie Gardens’ huge variety of big, fat and knubbly pumpkins. Here are some of her tips for making the perfect pick.

Indoor pumpkin patch

You can come see all of these cool colourful pumpkins at the Prairie Gardens indoor pumpkin patch. It’s open weekdays 2:30 – 4:30 and during the Haunted Pumpkin Festival from 11 – 5 every weekend in October including Thanksgiving Monday (Oct 14).

Pumpkins to carve

Pumpkin Fest Laurel

Carving pumpkins have thick flesh and are nice and heavy. They’re full of water and kind of stringy so no good for eating, but they come in cool shapes, lots of sizes and some are even extra-spooky looking before you start carving.

The Atlantic Giant can grow really really big – some to the size of small cars – and has extra thick flesh for sculpting. One Too Many is a white variety with an orange netting pattern over it. We also have Scarface for extra spooky scarring, Fat Jack, your classic fat round guy, and Longface with a distinctively long shape.

Remember to carve close to Halloween as once the pumpkins are carved they will only last two or three days.

Pumpkins for eating

Pumpkin picking bunch

When picking a pumpkin for cooking, you’ll want a heavy fruit with thick dry flesh.

Hubbard Green and Red October squash make great pies, soups and breads. They are knobbly and long – great of you want to carve a jack-o-penguin or crow-o-lantern. Or just baked in the oven on their own or stuffed as a warming side dish.

Blue pumpkins – which are still classic orange inside – are nice and heavy and make excellent curries and pies. And pick up a couple little round pie pumpkins too – they are perfect and small, so you’ll need two for a regular sized pie.

The best way to prepare them is to cut them in half, scoop out the seeds and bake upside down until tender.

Good-looking gourds

Pumpkin Fest candy apples

With Thanksgiving coming up this weekend, our pumpkin-gourd crosses make great table centerpieces. They are lumpy and very decorative, but not good for eating.

Haunted Pumpkin Fest

After you load up your car with a bunch of these guys, stick around on Saturday and Sunday – and this holiday Monday – for magic shows, shadow puppet theatre, balloon art, live music, the mega-sized corn maze (and the two smaller ones), train rides, and to build your own scarecrow.

Oh and the food – stay for the home-cooked scratch-made soft creamy pumpkin pie too.