There are so, so many different varieties of Pumpkin, but some are more suited for baking than others. Here are 5 Pumpkin Varieties that you’ll find perfect for your favorite Holiday recipes.
Photo Credit: Hannelore Becher/flickr
Pumpkin Season is here and, although I love the convenience and quality of canned pumpkin, there’s nothing like making your own Pumpkin Puree and stepping up your baking with fresh ingredients.
First of all, is Pumpkin a Fruit or a Vegetable?
Just because I’m asking the question should give you a clue that there’s something to be discussed here. The pumpkin fits the Botanists’ definition of a fruit – the part of the plant that comes from the flower (mature ovary) and also contains seeds. And stems, roots, leaves and flower buds are considered vegetables. But, it’s acceptable to refer to the ‘not sweet’ fruits – like avocado,tomatoes and pumpkin – as vegetables. So, I guess you could say either answer is correct – it’s a Fruit and a Vegetable…
What? My Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin can’t be used to make Pumpkin Puree?
Uh! No. You know how easy it is to carve that beautiful design into your Pumpkin at Halloween? Well, that’s because the Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin was designed to have thin skin and contains nothing but stringy, watery pulp. And, that’s why we’re here, my friend. So I can get you started with 5 Pumpkin Varieties that are perfect for Pumpkin Puree and all those Holiday and other recipes you are ready to make.
1. Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
I have to start with this one. It’s an heirloom pie squash that’s popular in New York and New Jersey (yay Jersey). It got it’s name because it’s shaped like a wheel of cheese. This pumpkin has moderately sweet flesh and a long storage life.
2. Cinderella Pumpkin
Yep – the one from the fairy tale. It’s real name is Rouge vifD’Etampes and is a French heirloom popular in the 1800s. It has a moist, custard-like flesh perfect for pies and pumpkin butter.
3. Baby Pam Sugar Pie Pumpkin
The Sugar Pie Pumpkin is the one most familiar to home bakers. It has a thin skin which makes it easy to cut. The sweet flesh has a fine grain and is drier than most, making it perfect for pies.
4. Cushaw Green and Gold Stripe
Photo Credit: Cushaw Green Gourd adam gilpin/flickr
Photo Credit: Cushaw Gold
These look a bit like bowling pins. I’ve seen this referred to as a pumpkin, aka Cucurbita mixta. And it’s also known as Tennessee Sweet Potato, Green Striped Bell or a squash. Southern Farmers like these because the plant resists squash vine borers and the taste is superb.
5. New England Pie Pumpkin
This classic traditional heirloom pie pumpkin is from the East Coast. Most are small in diameter – about 6 – 8″ and only weigh between 4 to 6 pounds. It has a light yellow, thick and sweet flesh with a fine grain. It also goes by several other names – Boston Pie, Boston Golden Sugar, Early Sugar and Golden Sweet.
And, your bonus pumpkin variety – Marina Di Chiogga.
Photo Credit: willian chen/flickr
Italian heirloom, of course. I just love the deep blue green color. This pumpkin was cultivated in the 1600s and was a major source of produce for the Venetians. It has sweet orange flesh and I understand that grilling this with olive oil and rosemary is divine.
And, here are a few tips on How to Pick the Perfect Pumpkin.
- Pick a pumpkin with the stem firmly attached. This means the pumpkin is healthy. If your pumpkin has a green stem, that indicates it was just picked. And, don’t pick it up by the stem.
- Check the pumpkin for soft spots and cracks. You don’t want a pumpkin that’s already started to deteriorate. And, if there are tiny holes on the pumpkin, that just might mean that an insect bored its way into the pumpkin. Avoid that as well.
- And, pick a pumpkin that’s heavy for its size. Pumpkins and squash lose moisture through their skin and heavy fruit (ummm vegetables), will yield more flesh.
Now, let’s get to that post that gives instruction on How to Make Pumpkin Puree!!!