The Hokkaido pumpkin is one of the most popular types of pumpkin today due to its aromatic taste, its low-fiber pulp and its very good shelf life. In the following, all the important aspects relating to ripeness and harvest are explained in an understandable and comprehensible manner.
When is the Hokkaido pumpkin ready to be harvested?
The Hokkaido pumpkin season usually begins in September and can extend into December under favorable weather conditions. Every now and then, Hokkaidos can be found on local markets as early as August, but these are rarely from local cultivation.
These signs indicate that a Hokkaido pumpkin is sufficiently ripe and that it is harvest time:
- The fruit is finished growing
- The typical orange color is fully developed
- the fruit has reached its final firmness
- Knock test produces a hollow and muffled sound
This is how the harvest of a Hokkaido succeeds
When the pumpkin is ripe and the harvest time for Hokkaido has come, you can remove the fruit from the plant and store it for later consumption. The actual harvest is very easy. The pumpkin is separated from the plant by breaking off or cutting it off. The only important thing is that part of the stem remains on the pumpkin. This is important because the stalk dries up and closes the only vulnerable part of the otherwise protective pumpkin skin. If, on the other hand, it is removed without residue, the Hokkaido dries out spreading from this point, or rots from the stem progressively until it is inedible.
Of course, as with all other vegetables, care should be taken during harvest not to damage the skin and to avoid bruising or bruising. Because all these weakenings offer bacteria, fungi and other organisms improved approaches that can ultimately lead to faster spoilage of the pumpkin.
From harvest to consumption – the right storage
After harvesting a Hokkaido pumpkin, as long as it is ripe, you can immediately prepare and consume it. For example, the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator or the pantry are suitable for shorter storage times. Since the Hokkaido is very durable, it can also be stored for several months without any problems. The following factors are important for correct storage from harvest time:
- Low temperatures, but no frost!
- Low humidity
- Storage without condensation, for example on a bed of straw or sand
What to do with immature pumpkins
Time and again, it can happen that a Hokkaido pumpkin has to be harvested before it has reached full maturity. Since the plant, unlike many other autumn vegetables, is quite sensitive to frost, early harvesting can make sense to save the pumpkins from spoiling. If the fruits are fully grown and have reached their final firmness, they can ripen well under the storage conditions already mentioned. A slightly higher temperature between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius accelerates post-ripening.
Harvested too late – what now?
If, on the other hand, a Hokkaido pumpkin is harvested too late, there is little that can be saved through proper storage. Optimal storage conditions can prevent spoilage from being accelerated, for example, if the pulp is already too soft, it cannot regain its firmness and resilience. Instead of storing the pumpkins, it is worthwhile processing them quickly into storable products. Proven options are, for example, acidic soaking, or processing and subsequent freezing.