October 26, 2015 - 2:30 PM
KELOWNA – An unusually warm summer may have been nothing but a help to most farmers in the Okanagan but it’s forced pumpkin farmers to take steps to ensure customers get products that aren’t mushy and spoiled.
Jas Sanghera is the owner of Don-O-Ray Vegetables on Benvoulin Road. He says the unusual weather this year caused pumpkins and other squash plants to ripen much earlier than usual, but that’s not necessarily a good thing for a crop that’s expected for a specific time of year.
“For sure it was really, really early,” he says. “If I had planted two weeks early like we sometimes do I would have had pumpkins in end of July and they would have spoiled.”
Sanghera says the biggest enemy of pumpkins is moisture, which causes mold. Although they had to leave their pumpkins in the field longer than usual this year, they took steps to make sure they didn’t rot on the ground. He says consumers can take similar steps to ensure the pumpkins they buy last up to two weeks longer than they otherwise would.
“The best thing to do is once you have your pumpkin carved, mix one teaspoon of bleach or vinegar with a quart of water and spray the outside and inside and all the cut areas,” he says. “That keeps it good for a couple weeks and keeps it from going black on the inside.”
He also recommends you bring your pumpkin in on cold nights.
“You don’t want to put them outside on concrete or they could rot,” he says. “Keep them at room temperature and don’t let them get moist. If it‘s too cold outside they’ll go bad.”
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