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The Hokkaido pumpkin (Curcurbita maxima 'Red Kuri') is an absolute classic in autumn. It has been the most popular pumpkin variety in this country for several years. Due to its size, the Hokkaido is also well suited for single households. The pumpkins are true all-rounders. They are rich in vitamins A and B, low in calories, therefore very healthy and also suitable for the figure-conscious. But sometimes green spots can be found on the skin and in the flesh of Hokkaido. What's it all about? Is the pumpkin still edible?

Green spots on the Hokkaido pumpkin

As the name suggests, pumpkins originated in Japan. There it is called Uchiki kuri and is also known as chestnut, onion or chestnut pumpkin. The popular vegetable variety is in high season in early and late autumn. The little one has many advantages:

  • Weight 1 to 3 kg
  • smaller than its relatives
  • slightly sweet, nutty-mild taste, similar to chestnuts
  • orange-colored, juicy and low-fiber pulp
  • thin skin and seeds edible
  • just wash thoroughly
  • quick and easy preparation
  • durable for up to a year

Sometimes at the base of the stem, in the skin and pulp of the Hokkaido green spots to be available. This isn't usually a cause for concern, it's just that the squash isn't quite ripe yet. These places do not necessarily have to be cut out. The pumpkins are still edible. The discolouration is not harmful to health. However, such uchiki kuri does not have a long storage time. It should be prepared promptly.

notice: Tomatoes and potatoes can also sometimes show such discolouration. However, caution is advised with these nightshade plants. Green spots are not edible here. they contain solanine, which leads to poisoning.

recognize maturity

The winter squash can be harvested between September and December. The ripeness of the fruit depends on

  • Time of sowing and
  • weather conditions during the growth phase

Only fully ripe fruit should be harvested. Depending on the variety, a post-ripening takes place in a warm and dry place.

However, the state of ripeness is difficult to recognize from the outside. A strong shade between orange and red with no green spots are external indications of the degree of ripeness. Other indications of an imminent harvest are

  • woody stem
  • must be brown and dried up
  • Press in the stem with your fingernail, no juice escapes
  • hollow, dull sound when tapping with knuckles
  • plump shell

notice: In addition to the orange variety, there are also green and gray Hokkaido pumpkins. These are very popular, especially in Japan. In this country, these varieties are considered to be immature, which is not the case. The flesh is similar to that of the orange-red Hokkaido and is just as tasty.

ripening pumpkins

Not all squashes on a plant are ripe at the same time. Plants can produce fruit of varying degrees of ripeness during harvest time. The pumpkins usually ripen first at the beginning of the shoots. This is where tact is really required. In addition, the pumpkins do not tolerate wet and cold weather. Most of the time they start to rot. If damp and cool weather is announced in October and the fruits are not yet fully ripe, it is advisable to place straw or polystyrene sheets under the fruits. This protects them from excessive moisture.

In addition, there is also the possibility of harvesting the pumpkins in the autumn before the first frosts or long periods of rain while they are still unripe. A single night with temperatures below zero is enough and the pumpkin is no longer usable.

  • cut off above the base of the stem
  • Leave at least 3 cm of stalk on fruit
  • Be careful not to damage the stem or gourds
  • Using a sharp knife or secateurs
  • dry moist pumpkins on newspaper for a few days
  • bright storage
  • 20 °C necessary for post-ripening

Pumpkins usually ripen within two to three weeks. Your quality is retained. However, only pumpkins without external injuries should ripen.

notice: In order to speed up the ripening process of pumpkins, they should no longer be watered in autumn. It also makes sense to cut through all the roots at a distance of half a meter around the plant with a sharp spade.

storage

Even Hokkaido pumpkins that have ripened indoors can then be stored for a few months.

  • store cool and dry
  • frost-free room necessary
  • ideal basement or garage
  • Temperature between 10°C and 15°C
  • ventilate well
  • Don't stack pumpkins
  • Styrofoam or wooden board as a base
  • also hanging in the net possible
  • Do not remove and injure the stem
  • regular controll

Undamaged, fully ripe pumpkins can be kept for between four and six months, sometimes up to a year. However, after about three months the quality of the stored fruit decreases. Damaged fruit should therefore be processed quickly, freezing is also possible here.

notice: The storage life of Hokkaido pumpkins varies from year to year. The decisive factor here is the weather conditions during the harvest. Fruits that have been harvested after a long dry period are particularly storable.

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