Skip to Content

Can You Buy Pumpkins with Food Stamps?

Can You Buy Pumpkins with Food Stamps?

Can you buy pumpkins with food stamps? Yes! Pumpkins are an edible food so they are eligible for purchase with EBT benefits. We’ll show you how to buy them, where to buy them and how to use them for food as well.

Why can you buy pumpkins with food stamps?

Food stamps, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, are designed to help low income households purchase food for human consumption. As a result, you can use those benefits to purchase eligible food items at participating retailers all across America.

Pumpkins are a popular decorative item during the Halloween season but they are also very edible. Obviously, you can find pumpkin spice everything during the holiday season, right?

There are so many ways to use a pumpkin for food. Pumpkins are a fruit. You can eat the seeds, you can roast or puree the flesh, and more. We’ll go over ways that you can use your decorative pumpkins for food in just a moment.

How can I find an EBT-eligible pumpkin?

Because SNAP benefits are designed to help you purchase edible food, you have to make sure that you pick an EBT-eligible pumpkin. Otherwise, it won’t be covered by your food stamps benefits.

What kinds of pumpkins can I buy with EBT?

Obviously, eligible pumpkins must be edible. You cannot purchase plastic pumpkins or purely-decorative pumpkins with your SNAP benefits.

However, the USDA classifies real pumpkins into two types or categories: pie type and decorative type. Pie pumpkins are generally smaller, sweeter and denser than the decorative pumpkins. Decorative pumpkins are more like the large Howden type that are usually used for carving.

Although both pie type and decorative type pumpkins are edible, decorative pumpkins are typically stringier and more watery than the sweet, dense pumpkins typically favored for cooking.

If you’re looking for a pumpkin to eat, some of the best pie-type pumpkins include these varieties:

  • Casper
  • Cherokee Bush
  • Cinderella
  • Fairytale
  • Red Warty Thing

Even tiny pumpkins, like those typically advertised for decoration, are actually edible. Some creative chefs hallow them out and use the insides for ingredients in soups, while using the outside peel as a festive seasonal soup boul.

Where can I buy pumpkins with food stamps?

The best way to find an EBT-eligible pumpkin is to look in the produce area of your local grocery store. Avoid the decorative displays or holiday areas, as these pumpkins may not be covered by SNAP benefits. Pumpkins that are already decorated are most likely not going to be EBT-eligible.

Most grocers sell pumpkins during the fall. However, we have confirmed that you can buy pumpkins with food stamps from the following stores:

  • Albertsons
  • Aldi
  • Costco
  • Food Lion
  • Food4Less
  • HEB
  • King Soopers
  • Kroger
  • Publix
  • Safeway
  • Shop Rite
  • Smiths
  • QFC
  • Walmart
  • Winco
  • and more!

Another great place to buy pumpkins with food stamps is your local Farmer’s Market! Many farmer’s markets are equipped to accept EBT benefits now and it’s a great way to find fresh produce and support local businesses in your area.

Similarly, some U-Pick farms are also set up to accept EBT benefits. As we’ve covered in our EBT Guide, you can often visit you-pick strawberry fields and other farms with your food stamps benefits. Before you head to the local pumpkin patch, though, you should call ahead and make sure they are set up to accept EBT transactions.

Obviously, this means that you can buy real pumpkins from a grocery store with your food stamps. You cannot use your SNAP benefits to purchase plastic pumpkins or ones that are only used for decorative purposes.

How do I choose a great pumpkin?

As you’re shopping, please remember that most pumpkins are priced per-pound. The average cost for a pumpkin is around $5 but larger pumpkins may cost more due to their heavier weight.

If you plan to carve the pumpkin, a larger pumpkin may be a better choice. It will give you more space to work with. Alternatively, smaller pumpkins are typically more delicious to eat. It just depends on what your priorities are.

Whatever size you choose, make sure that the pumpkin has a securely attached stem and no bruises. This will ensure that the pumpkin is good to eat.

The master gardeners at Kansas State University have published a guide to picking the perfect pumpkin and here is a quick summary of their advice:

  • The pumpkin should be solid to the touch. Don’t buy soft, sunken or squishy pumpkins!
  • The pumpkin should not have any significant bruises or blemishes. Don’t buy pumpkins that have cracks or splits.
  • Press your fingernail into the rind. A good pumpkin will resist scratching. Don’t buy pumpkins that scratch easily!
  • The stem should be green and firm. Don’t buy pumpkins with shriveled stems!
can you buy pumpkins with food stamps? this graphic says yes!

If you buy pumpkins with food stamps, can you decorate them?

Yes, you can decorate pumpkins that you purchase with EBT. You can also eat them. If you choose to carve your pumpkin, you need to harvest the parts you’re going to eat before you put it outside. If you paint your pumpkin or leave it intact, you may be able to harvest the edible parts later in the season.

According to HGTV, a pumpkin can be stored for 60-90 days as long as it has a well-attached stem or any bruises. The pumpkin should be stored in a cool dry area if it will be eaten later. Fortunately, many areas in America are cool and dry throughout October.

According to HGTV, a pumpkin can be stored for 60-90 days as long as it has a well-attached stem or any bruises. The pumpkin should be stored in a cool dry area if it will be eaten later.

How do I eat these pumpkins?

Pumpkins provide a lot of food for a relatively low cost. Did you know that you can eat every part of the pumpkin except for its stalk? This versatile fruit tastes great in sweet and savory dishes. It can be used in a wide variety of dishes, including pies, beverages, soups, breads and even roasted by itself.

Of course, what you do may depend on how you chose to decorate your pumpkin. If you choose to carve the pumpkin, you can harvest the seeds and pulp immediately for cooking. You’ll lose a lot of the flesh this way, though, since you cannot eat the flesh after you’ve set the carved pumpkin outside.

If you paint or leave the pumpkin intact, you may be able to harvest all of these things at a later date as long as the pumpkin has not started to decay.

Seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds can be a delicious treat. You can snack on them or use them in soups, salads and other meals.

Roasting pumpkin seeds is easy! Just simmer them in salted water for 10 minutes and then roast them in the oven until they brown. You can sprinkle them with salt or seasonings, if you’d like.

Pulp

The stringy, slimy innards of the pumpkin may not seem appetizing but they can be used to flavor broths and soups! Just boil it in a pan of water to make a thin broth.

The broth has many uses! You can strain it and used as a base for soups, The broth can also be mixed with apple juice and cider spices for a delicious beverage. You could also boil rice or pasta in the broth for extra flavor.

Flesh

The flesh of the pumpkin is the thick, solid part that is attached to the skin. In order to use it, you’ll need to peel or cut away the outside skin of the pumpkin.

This is the part that you can use to make pies, breads, cakes, soups and basically any other pumpkin-flavored thing you may want to enjoy. It’s delicious, even if all you do is slice it up and roast it with a drizzle of olive oil.

Can I get in trouble for buying pumpkins with food stamps?

If you’re worried about getting in trouble for buying pumpkins with your food stamps, please don’t fear. The program is designed to help you purchase food for consumption and pumpkins are, in fact, an edible food. There is nothing wrong with using your food stamps benefits to purchase pumpkins during the fall, especially if you plan to eat all or part of the pumpkin.

Wait – don’t go yet!

If you’ve got food stamps, you don’t want to miss out on all the other incredible EBT-related benefits we’ve found.

We can show you how to use your EBT card to get over 1,000 EBT discounts at museums, aquariums, zoos, and even stores around the country. We update those lists continually with new benefits, so be sure to bookmark that page!

We can also help you figure out how to get more food stamps benefits, find incredible things you can buy with EBT on Amazon, and more!

Of course, the best way to make sure that you never miss an update about EBT benefits is to sign up for our email newsletter.

Nicole leads the Low Income Relief team with over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, eHow, Livestrong, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more.