Knowing what pumpkin you should use for cooking, baking, painting, carving and decorating will make the season a lot more enjoyable. Pies will taste better, carving will be easier and your home will look more festive.
Not all pumpkins are created equal. There are several varieties of pumpkins, some are grown specifically for carving, while others are grown for their shapes, sizes, tastes and textures. It’s a good idea to know ahead of time what you’ll be using your pumpkin for so that you choose one that is just right.
Will you be using the pumpkin to cook up something amazing? Will you be painting it? Carving it? or just creating and amazing display with it? These are the questions you should ask yourself before you head out to the pumpkin patch.
Once you know what you are going to use it for, you’ll want to know what type of pumpkin will be best. Since there are so many different varieties, I’ve put together a list of suggestions for some of the more popular varieties and a few of my favorites.
Purchasing Pumpkins with a Purpose
I’ve always used Sugar Pie pumpkins for my pumpkin pies, just because they are easy to find and they have a lovely flavor. However, Epicurious suggests using Cheese, Jarrahdale or Blue Hubbard pumpkins, they say that the texture is silky smooth and they have a really nice sweet flavor.
I like to use a Buttercup pumpkin for roasting and in soup because it has a nice buttery texture which is perfect in these types of recipes. However, BestRecipes.com suggests using a Queensland Blue, Jap, Butternut or Golden Nugget pumpkin because they have a sweet, nutty flavor which adds a delicious layer of flavor to any dish.
When it comes to painting a pumpkin you want to look for one that is smooth and blemish free. Orange Smoothie, Cotton Candy and Lumina pumpkins are the perfect canvas for displaying your artistic talents on.
When it comes to carving you want to look for pumpkins that are blemish free and are light colored. Lighter colored pumpkins are softer and much easier to carve. The perfect pumpkins for carving are the Jack-O-lantern, Lumina, Hobbit, Autumn gold, Gold Rush, and Wolf pumpkins.
There are so many different types, colors, sizes and shapes of pumpkins out there, so the sky’s the limit when it comes to decorating with them. A couple of my favorite pumpkins to decorate with are Magic Lanterns and Cinderella pumpkins.
How to Choose a Pumpkin that will Last
- Choose pumpkins that have a nice sized stem
- Never carry the pumpkin by its stem
- Choose pumpkins that feel heavier than they look
- Choose pumpkins that look pretty and don’t have any blemishes
- Store pumpkins in a cool dry place, with good circulation around it
- Keep the pumpkin away from ripening fruit, they produces gases that will rot the pumpkin
- Limit how much you handle the pumpkin
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