Ripening Pumpkins

A couple of weeks ago my Ghost Rider Pumpkin looked like this. It was fully green and unripe.

Now it’s ripening well. However, the frosts are just around the corner and I’m worried it won’t fully ripen in time for Halloween (there’s still a patch of green on one side). The plant itself is dying off which means that its ripen power is waning. If a frost comes it will knock the plant back even further.

My Pumpkin is in the sunny part of the garden that still gets a lot of Autumn sun. But I’ve also tactfully removed some of the leaves that were shading the it. And rotated it so that the greenest part is facing the sun. Bottom line, I’ve done everything I can do to get it to perfection for the 31st. And I’m sure it will get there.

But… if yours is still green – you can’t eat unripe Pumpkins but you can carve them. Who can tell if the Pumpkin is green or orange when it’s dark?

14 Comments on “Ripening Pumpkins

  1. I’ve never really seen the ripening process, so your pictures are interesting – it seems like a lot of progress in a few weeks. And I know I’d be a bit more weirded out by a green carved pumpkin than an orange one, more unusual and worthy of a ‘double-take’.

  2. But you can eat unripe pumpkins, they might be a bit bland and so not suited to pumpkin soup/ pie but they will taste fine baked with other veges in a savoury herby seasoning.

    You can also try if the frost gets there before you do to cut the pumpkin with a good 4 – 6″ of stalk and leave on a sunny window sill for a week or so, sometimes if you are lucky they still orange up.

    The only thing I would say is an unripe pumpkin will not store for a long time so eating it within four weeks of picking would be a good idea.

  3. Hi Kella – thanks for the tip. I’ve always thought unripe Pumpkins would taste – well a bit green. But I’m willing to try anything new.

  4. I tried (unsuccessfully) to grow butternut squash for the first time this year. I got plants and flowers, but no sign of any squash.

    I think a combination of things went wrong: perhaps I planted too late (May), didn’t nurture enough and maybe it’s a bit too cold in Scotland.

    Would you mind running through what you do? When do you sow, do you go straight in the ground or into a coldframe first and do you water them a lot?

  5. My pumpkin plants just shrivelled up and we ate several unripe pumpkins. They tasted great. We used them in soup, mixed with other veg in things, and made a pumpkin lasagna.

  6. hi we picked our pumpkin in August (!) as it was massive, and very nearly ripe. We were worried someone would nick it so we brought it home and left it in a sunny room. It ripened perfectly and now we’re storing it in the cold garage ready for halloween.
    Top pumpkin (and squash) cooking tip (from Betty’s Cookery School in Harrogate no less!) is to carve the pumpkin into generous slices and leave the skin on and then roast it- skin is much much easier to remove after roasting. Also brings a great sweetness and is brill for soups etc.

  7. Hi there

    I’m a big fan of My Tiny Plot and am involved in a campaign to save our local allotments ( in North London. Thames Water own the land and are trying to sell them off for development.

    It would great if any allotment lovers out there could sign our on-line petition at!

    We are also putting together a 2010 calendar showing allotments during the seasons as a fund-raising initiative and wondered whether you (or anyone else out there) might have pictures of vegetables in the snow/frost etc.. which you wouldn’t mind sharing with us? We have lots of lovely photos for the other months (see our gallery) but are a bit short on beautiful snowy scenes!

    Many thanks.


  8. most of my pumpkins ripened but a couple did not before i picked them. i love the green ones also and the in between ones, i love them all and they look good all together!

  9. I finally weakened and harvested my 4 butternut squash this afternoon. We had our first frost several days ago and the vine was looking very sorry for itself. So 5 kg of butternut squash are now sitting on a light windowsill. It’s the first year I’ve grown them and definitely know which part of the garden to put them in next year. We live in France and butternut is very hard to come by. It was a bit of an experiment this year, but well worth the price of the seeds.

    By the way, does anyone else feel to compelled to weigh their harvest? It’s an illness……!!

  10. I picked a 32-lb pumpkin (half orange/half green) from my garden before Halloween after its vine was destroyed by a light frost. It’s now the end of November, and my pumpkin ripened perfectly into an entirely-orange pumpkin by just keeping it warm inside my house. I do plant to roast it, ultimately eating the pulp and the seeds.

  11. I have grown pumpkins this year and they all ripened sufficiently without turning orange. I have heard this requires sunshine which is not always available. Ripened pumpkins should be judged by knocking on the pumpkin with the knuckles. If you hear a ‘hollow’ sound it is ripe regardless of colour. Also, pumpkins will continue to ripen even off the vine. They store well in dry cool conditions so will easily last until All Hallows Evening.

  12. I live in Corfu, Greece, and started growing butternut & Crown Prince squashes three years ago. I keep the seeds, but they have all cross-pollinated now. For the first time, I am left at the end of October with two unripe squashes. One is very large and I wonder if I can just leave it in the garden for a while? It has been very wet recently – 17cm rain this month – but frosts are rare, especially before Christmas. I expect there will still be plenty of sunshine between now and then. Any suggestions?