The definition of “hooligan” offered to us by Merriam-Webster is “a usually young man who engages in rowdy behavior.” In this case, however, the hooligan we’ll be looking at is about four ounces in weight, likes to wear stripes, and usually can only be spotted during the autumn season.
That’s right: this elusive little thing is known as the Hooligan Pumpkin, and if you’re hoping to get your hands on one, you’ve come to the right place! Read on to learn everything you need to know about the Hooligan Pumpkin.
The Hooligan is a notoriously tiny pumpkin, so you won’t find it being entered in any pumpkin-growing contests! These little guys are only about a quarter-pound in weight and about four inches in diameter, so while they’re the perfect petite addition to any decorative cornucopia, they’re really not the best choice if you’re looking to wow the neighborhood with your jack-o-lanterns this year.
One reason why they may have been given the mantle of “hooligan” is their riotous coloring—rather than sticking to the plain orange coloration of most pumpkins, these showy fruits sport mottled flesh in shades of bright orange and pale yellow or white. While there are definitely smatterings of color throughout this pumpkin’s flesh, there’s also a clearly striped pattern that goes vertically from the pumpkin’s stem to its base. If you’re looking for a neutral pumpkin to lend some elegance and simplicity to your porch this year, these pumpkins aren’t the best choice. But if you’re looking to add a splash of wild pigment to your décor, have at it!
Despite their tiny size and not being known as a food pumpkin, the Hooligan is edible, and you’ll be happy to learn that its flavor is utterly contrary to its name. Those who have tasted this fruit describe its taste as richly sweet with a hint of the nuttiness expected from the tastes of many other pumpkin and squash varieties.
Because of this sweetness, it may not be the best choice for pumpkin dishes that lean on the savory side, so you might want to look elsewhere for those recipes. But there’s hardly a lack of pumpkin recipes that will benefit from this fruit’s saccharine flavor, so don’t count it out when planning out your autumn or holiday menus!
Uses for the Hooligan Pumpkin
As mentioned previously, these pumpkins are a great choice for all kinds of recipes. Though miniature pumpkins aren’t always thought of as the best pumpkins for cooking and baking (and their size means you’ll need to buy more of them to get your desired amount of pumpkin in most cases), the melting-in-the-mouth sweetness of these pumpkins cannot be ignored. So while you may be reticent to spend the extra cash to get enough of these pumpkins for your favorite recipes, believe me, that first taste will make it all worth it!
Of course, there’s the classic and traditional expectation for pumpkin usage as well: Halloween decorations! And with their wild coloration and ability to vivify your porch without taking up too much space, Hooligan pumpkins make a great addition to any spooky season display.
Of course, you might not be able to make looming jack-o-lanterns out of them, but you can always make some miniature friends to keep your bigger pumpkins company—or, if you’re looking to have a fall-themed look rather than a Halloween one, these will simply help add a nice splash of unique color amongst the other pieces of autumn-themed décor on the inside or outside of your home.
These petite pumpkins also make for great starter pumpkins for little trick-or-treaters. If you have children who aren’t quite far enough along yet to wield some carving tools, mini pumpkins are a great way to get them involved without any carving required! Just purchase some paints and some brushes, maybe some stencils if you want to go all-out, and let your kids go to town.
Painted pumpkins are a great addition to any Halloween décor ensemble, and the best part? No pumpkin guts to clean up or sour smell to put up with! Just make sure you either purchase washable paint, or have your kids wear something you don’t mind getting stained. This process is sure to get a bit messy!
Of course, Halloween isn’t the only autumn occasion to look forward to! Pumpkins have just as much stake in Thanksgiving as they do Halloween, and they’re a perfectly common choice for Thanksgiving table décor. You can use them as centerpiece additions, accent pieces, and more! For instance, mini pumpkins great choice if you’re looking to hollow out pumpkins as candle holders.
When is the Hooligan Pumpkin in season?
The season for harvesting the Hooligan Pumpkin depends on when you plant them. They take about 95 days for the fruit to reach maturity, and depending on when the final frost in your area is (check your hardiness zone to see when the best planting season is for your area!), your pumpkins will need to be planted once they’re out of frost danger.
Of course, if you’re looking to harvest later in the year, you’ll want to time your planting accordingly—ideally, you’ll want to be harvesting these pumpkins sometime between September and November. You don’t want your pumpkins going bad before you can use them during the intended season!
Where is the Hooligan Pumpkin Grown?
Pumpkins aren’t really a picky plant, and you can find them being grown all over the US! You’ll want to make sure you pay attention to when your area receives its final frost, but you should be able to grow the Hooligan pumpkin just fine no matter where you live.
The only exception to this rule is the fact that pumpkins can be vulnerable to certain diseases when overexposed to moisture; they’ve been known to contract a disease called powdery mildew if they’re watered too heavily, whether by…well, weather, or by their planter! If you live in an area with a considerable amount of rainfall or heavy humidity, one option is to treat your pumpkins with fungicide to prevent the formation of this mildew. But if you live in a dryer area, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about this!
Hooligan Pumpkin Recipes
Seeing as the Hooligan pumpkin has such a sweet flavor, its use in desserts is a no-brainer. You can make absolutely delectable pies, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, or pumpkin muffins with these pumpkins by substituting whatever amount of canned pumpkin the recipe calls for. Or, if you’d like to play with the idea of cooking these pumpkins as a whole unit, you can try your hand at baked miniature pumpkins! With this option, you could utilize Hooligan pumpkins as both holiday decoration and holiday dish!
Final Thoughts on the Hooligan Pumpkin
Despite their teeny stature, Hooligan pumpkins certainly pack a punch! With near-limitless uses and eye-catching coloration that’s sure to make them the star of the show this fall, you can’t go wrong when you pick up a haul of these bad boys. Start planning to make the Hooligan pumpkin part of your home’s holiday décor and desserts this fall!
Excited for more pumpkin content? Keep learning all about pumpkin plants to become an expert on pumpkin planting, growing, harvesting, cooking, and more!
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Cassidy Eubanks is a proud Michigander, an avid reader, a lover of colorful gardens, and a writer for Minneopa Orchards.
After earning her bachelor’s in Creative Writing (partially through virtual learning, thanks to the pandemic), gardening gave her an excuse to get outside and get away from all the screens. With a particular love for decorating with colorful flowers, using herbs grown in her own garden, and finding creative ways to build big gardens in small spaces, Cassidy enjoys helping others learn about growing their own food, flowers, and trees through Minneopa Orchards!