Gardeners grow pumpkins to use their succulent flesh for pies and stews and, of course, to provide the raw material for Halloween lanterns. You can grow them from seed, starting in late spring or early summer after the risk of frost has passed. In the British climate, they may not ripen well before the first frosts of autumn appear, especially if the summer has been wet and cool. There are ways that you can hasten the ripening process so that your pumpkin turns from an unripe green to an attractive orange.
Harvest your pumpkins by cutting their stalks, leaving a stem length of about 10 centimetres (four inches) on the fruit.
Wash the pumpkins under a running tap, removing all mud and other detritus. Dry the pumpkins after washing as a damp ones are prone to rotting.
Place each pumpkin in a paper or plastic bag. Add an apple or a ripe banana. The added fruit gives off ethylene gas, an aid to ripening. Store the pumpkins it in a dry, warm place with good ventilation.
Take the pumpkin out of the bag if you get a warm sunny day and place it in the sun to help the ripening process. Return the pumpkin to the bag once the sun has gone.
Things you need
- Sharp knife
- Paper or plastic bags
- Apples or ripe bananas