It has probably happened to all of us. The season is ending, your pumpkin vines are dying, and your fruits have not yet turned orange. Are they ripe or not? Can you eat green pumpkins? Unripe pumpkin eating is likely not as tasty as ripe fruits, but will it harm you? Answers to these questions and more follow.
Can You eat Green Pumpkins?
Nothing says fall like squash and pumpkins. Unfortunately, the colder weather and lack of sunshine can mean much of our produce didn't ripen properly. It doesn't have to go to waste though. Consider the fried green tomato, a thing of such delicate flavor as to make your mouth sing. Are green pumpkins edible? Well, they won't kill you, but the flavor may lack sweetness.
Green pumpkins happen. All pumpkins start out green and gradually ripen to orange. Once they are ripe the vine dies, and the fruit is ready. With cooler temperatures and less sunlight, it is unlikely the pumpkins will ripen. You can try putting them in a sunny, warm area like a greenhouse or solarium. You can also just leave them in place, provided there aren't any hard freezes.
Turn them frequently to expose the rind to any sun. With a little luck the fruits will mature more, although they may not turn all the way orange. They are still edible and can be used in a variety of recipes.
Tips on Eating Green Pumpkins
To be sure they are usable, cut one open. If the flesh is orange, it will be almost as nice as a ripe fruit. Even green flesh can be used in soups and stews-- just make sure to spice it up. Flavors like Indian and Szechuan can go a long way to embellishing the green fruit.
Eating green pumpkins in pie is not recommended, as there aren't enough sugars built up in the fruit. Plus, your pumpkin pie will be a sickly color. Roasting the flesh will help bring out sugars a little bit and enhance the flavor.
Actual Green Pumpkins
Still wondering if green pumpkins are edible? Cast your mind back to spring. What variety of pumpkin did you plant? There are pumpkin varieties that are supposed to be green. Jarrahdale is a bluish green pumpkin with a shape like Cinderella's coach. Other varieties are Goblin, Turk's Turban, Italian Stripe, Black and Silver, and Shamrock pumpkin.
Several squash varieties also look like pumpkins but are naturally green. Hubbard, acorn, and kabocha come to mind. If you are sure it is a variety that is supposed to turn orange, you can try adding smaller fruit to a bag of apples. The ethylene gas released may help the fruit ripen.
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Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.
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