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Tips on picking the perfect pumpkin - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Tips on picking the perfect pumpkin

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RANDOLPH CENTER, Vt. -

Sam Lincoln of Lincoln Farm has been growing pumpkins for 14 seasons.

"Pumpkins are a lot of fun," he said. "It's a great thing to see kids come out and pick pumpkins, and even adults."

This year the pumpkins aren't as plentiful at his farm. We all remember that rainy weather from May and June-- it put a damper on the pumpkins.

"At this farm it's about half a crop, and it's delayed," Lincoln said.

Still, Lincoln has thousands of pumpkins to go around. He grows about 10 varieties, including sugar pumpkins.

"They have a very classic pumpkin look, and nice sturdy handle, and a nice uniform shape," he said.

Lincoln uses sugar pumpkins to bake up a family favorite-- pumpkin pie.

Reporter Nick Borelli: Are these guys in a pie form always on your Thanksgiving table?

Sam Lincoln: Absolutely!

The taste can't be matched.

"There is nothing better, no more flavorful pie than a homemade pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkins," Lincoln said.

Lincoln puts the roasted pumpkin flesh in the freezer and enjoys pumpkin pies year-round.

"When I freeze it, I freeze it like that, so it's fairly thin and thaws out quickly," he explained.

When most people go pumpkin picking, they go for the jack-o'-lantern variety. Like sugar pumpkins, you should look for healthy stems and uniform roundness. But some folks opt for a more unique look.

"We learned a long time ago not to throw away the weird looking ones either, because people like those, too," Lincoln said.

After picking the perfect pumpkin, it should be handled with care. Even though you might be tempted to, you never want to hold a pumpkin by its stem, because a pumpkin without a stem isn't as healthy, and let's face it, the stem adds character.

When the time comes to start carving, it's a good idea to use a sturdy, plastic knife-- especially for kids.

"My wife's new thing is she cuts the bottom out. Takes all of the seeds out, leaves the stem, leaves everything on top," Lincoln said.

When it's time to light up the jack-o'-lantern, simply place the pumpkin on top of the candle.

Then of course, there are the seeds.

"I'm not a pumpkin seed roaster myself, I'm a sunflower seed man," Lincoln said.

Lincoln also appreciates the special something that pumpkins bring to autumn.

"I enjoy seeing pumpkins around the farm and piled up in places," he said. "It's a very classic New England fall decoration."

A sentiment that most of us probably agree with.

If you keep your picked pumpkins from freezing and don't puncture their skin, they'll stay fresh through around Thanksgiving.

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