Hokkaido pumpkins are not only delicious and healthy, they are also very easy to grow in the garden. The fruits have the advantage that they can be stored for a long time. What many hobby gardeners find difficult is recognizing the right time to ripen. But there are very clear symptoms by which this can be recognized. There is also disagreement as to whether Hokkaido should be peeled or not. We have interesting answers to that. Continue reading!

harvest time

Hokkaido pumpkins are usually harvested between September and November. It always depends on the time of sowing and of course on the weather when they are really ripe. If you start sowing early and the summer is warm and sunny, the first fruits can be ripe as early as late July or early August. It is important that the pumpkins are really ripe, even if they can ripen later. Pumpkins should only be harvested unripe if bad weather sets in early, i.e. a lot of rain and cold early in the year. Then you let them ripen.

  • Main harvest between September and October
  • The first pumpkins can already ripen at the end of July, depending on the time of sowing and the weather
  • Be sure to harvest before the first frost
  • Fruits can be harvested unripe, they will ripen later

recognize maturity

With the orange varieties, you can tell the degree of ripeness by the strong orange color of the skin. Of course, this does not work with the different colored varieties. The stem is also a sure sign. It must be dry, preferably a bit dried out, and woody with a brownish discoloration. The knock test also brings security. If you tap the pumpkin hard with the knuckle of your index finger, it should sound hollow and dull, then the pumpkin is ripe.

  • Strong orange skin with no green spots
  • Stem dry, woody and with brown discolouration
  • Tapping test – hollow, dull sound
Note: Several fruits can usually be harvested from one plant. They mature at different times, not all at once. Therefore, the stock must be checked regularly. The first Hokkaido can be ripe as early as the end of July, the last ones in October or even later.

Harvest of Hokkaido

When harvesting, it is advisable to cut off a good piece of the stalk, i.e. leave it on the fruit. It should be as undamaged as possible, at least if the pumpkin is to be stored. A damaged stem can quickly lead to rot. Either a sharp knife or equally sharp pruning shears are suitable for cutting. Of course, the fruit should not be damaged during the harvest, because then it can no longer be stored.

  • Leave the stalk of at least 1 cm on the squash
  • Do not damage stem and fruit
  • Cut off with a sharp knife or secateurs

Store Kokkaido correctly

Depending on the variety, the Hokkaido can be stored for several months provided they are in perfect condition. It is important that the storage location is cool, dry and airy. Dry cellars or storerooms are favorable. The shelf life is 1 to 4 months, after which the quality of the fruit simply decreases drastically.

  • Only use undamaged Hokkaido, with a stem of at least 1 cm
  • Do not wash!
  • Store only ripe fruit
  • Storage temperatures 10 to 14°C
  • Store dry and airy

Does the Hokkaido have to be peeled?

Last but not least, the Hokkaido pumpkin is so popular because you don’t have to peel it. You can safely save yourself this work. Hokkaido is not called the lazy pumpkin for nothing. It is important that the peel is washed thoroughly. It then becomes soft when cooking or baking, so that it can be eaten without any problems. However, it does not hurt if the Hokkaido is peeled beforehand, you only lose delicious pumpkin.

If you really want to remove the peel, you can cut the fruit into wedges and bake them in the oven at 200°C for about 20 minutes. Then the skin can be peeled off very thinly, it’s very easy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there differences in taste if the Hokkaido is harvested unripe and is supposed to ripen later?
The unripe such a pumpkin is harvested, the more the taste suffers. It is really best to let the fruit ripen directly on the plant.

Can the Hokkaido pumpkin be stored differently?
You can freeze it and store it longer than the whole fruit. There are two possibilities. First, it can be frozen raw. The Hokkaido does not have to be peeled for this either. You cut it open, remove the seeds and stalks and cut the flesh into cubes or small pieces. These pieces are frozen in portions in freezer bags or containers. It is important not to blanch the pieces, otherwise they will become mushy.
If you want to freeze pumpkin for a later soup, you can use mush right away. The pumpkin is also cut into pieces. These are then steamed with water in a pot for 20 minutes and should then be nice and soft. The liquid is poured off. The pulp is pureed. It then has to cool down and can then also be portioned, filled into appropriate containers or freezer bags and frozen.

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