Don’t be fooled…if you’ve seen one pumpkin, you haven’t seen them all. There are numerous pumpkin varieties and their uses can be very different. Newsflash: Not all pumpkins are orange. That’s right; while many varieties do have orange skin, there are white, tan, green and even blue hued pumpkins. They also come in a multitude of sizes.
If you want to know which ones to cook and which ones to carve, read on.
Pumpkin Pie – While there are several varieties that can be used to make pie filling, if you want a sweet tasting pie, Better Homes & Gardens suggests a “New England Cheddar” pumpkin. Looking like a cheese wheel, this pumpkin has one of the highest sugar contents, great for whipping up that Thanksgiving dessert!
Pumpkin Soup – There are two things chefs look for when creating an autumn pumpkin soup; taste and texture. The best varieties for soup according to taste.com are “butternut”, “Jap”or “Kent”, and “Queensland Blue”. Look for greener stems (vs. brown) and bright colored flesh to ensure a fresh pumpkin.
Pumpkin Carving – The difference with a pumpkin that carves well, from those you cook or bake with, is that it typically has a thinner skin (making it easy to get that knife or carving tool through) and less “guts”, the stringy, seedy part of the pumpkin. According to thekitchn.com, the aptly named “Jack–O’–Lantern” variety is the traditional go-to for your Halloween carving. In recent years, there has been a trend to use the white “Lumina” as well.
Pumpkin Décor – Anything goes when it comes to decorating, both inside and outside your home. If you’re a traditionalist, you may want mix in some “Pam” and “Baby Pam” pumpkins, a vibrant orange with a fairly rounded shape. They go well with dried corn stalks and mums on steps, walkways and around lampposts. If you’re looking for something a little different, try mixing some larger “Blue Dolls” with the smaller white “Casperitas”.
Whether you're cooking or carving, there’s no shortage of pumpkins for you to choose from!