For carving: Opt for bigger pumpkins, said Dave Reid, owner of Dave's Pumpkins in Huntley. "The bigger it is, the easier it is to carve, even though it doesn't seem like it," Reid said. "It's easier to scoop out the inside and cut the pumpkin." For baking seeds: Pick out a pumpkin with a strong orange color and a healthy stem. Reid said the color indicates the ripeness, and the stem may also indicate the internal health of the pumpkin. For cooking: Go for small, round pumpkins with the dark orange color. Reid said baking pumpkins are grown smaller. Baking pumpkins also have a sweeter flesh than larger pumpkins, said Bill Banks, owner of Butterprint Farm Pumpkin Patch in Monee. For storing: Baking pumpkins store very well, and Banks recommends leaving them at room temperature in a part of the house with minimum temperature fluctuation, such as the dining room. "I've had pumpkins last me a year," Banks said.
Tribune file photo