There are many varieties of pumpkin, as well as a few species. This makes choosing the right pumpkin for your use difficult. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your view, there are very few to choose from in supermarkets, so most people never get to experience the interesting and extremely tasty types. There is even a type that produces so much juice inside the cavity that it can be used for drinks, that are flavoured like popcorn.
There are many varieties, but you will probably only know two or three from the supermarket. If you have a garden you can grow your own easily.
Pumpkin is usually boiled, baked or used for soup, but it is far more useful than that.
Here are just a couple of varieties of pumpkin. There are many varieties that you can grow at home for something special
In the US, what we call pumpkin, they call squash. In Australia we have pumpkins which are any varieties that are eaten mature, and squash and zucchini which are varieties that are eaten when immature.
✅ Quick Tips: Understanding your ingredients will make you a better cook, and makes it easier to understand how ingredients will work together.
Come in many varieties
There are hundreds of varieties of pumpkin, but the usual ones that you find in the supermarket are 'Butternut', 'Qld Blue', and 'Kent'.
Butternut and Kent is best for pumpkin pie and soup, imo, and Qld blue for baking. All these are good for boiling and other recipes.
The one pictured here is a type that is grown just for the seed which don't have shells on them. These seeds are eaten or made into oil.
All the pictures here are from some of the varieties I grow.
Here are a few varieties that you might be interested in:
- Butternut. Probably the best known and good all-rounder. Small. Yellow skin and flesh.
- Kent/Jap. Related to butternuts with the same uses. Round with speckled skin.
- Jarrahdale. Round with grey skin. Australian heritage variety. Related to Qld Blue. Fairly large.
- Qld Blue. Australian heritage variety. Round with a turban-like shape and blue-grey skin. Large. Can be difficult to cut because it is so hard. Good keeper.
- Golden Nugget. Small round variety with orange skin. Good for stuffing and roasting due to the large seed cavity. Related to Qld Blue.
- Winter Luxury Pie. The best flavoured pumpkin I grow. Small to med with orange skin that is speckled with white. Relates to zucchini
- Tromboncino. Related to butternut. Very long and curved with seeds at one end. Great for cutting into even slices. Can be used as a well flavoured zucchini when immature.
Pumpkin is low in calories and not particularly nutrient dense. 100g of cooked pumpkin has about 9% of your daily need of potassium, 2% of carbohydrate, 15% of vitamin C, 5% of vitamin B6, and 3 grams of fibre.
It's worth cooking for its flavour and versatility, though, and it is easy to store for winter food.
Favourite pumpkin recipes
Some of the most popular recipes that pumpkin is used for include:
- Pumpkin pie
Cut the pumpkin with a large knife and remove the seeds.
Although pumpkin rind is edible, most people prefer to peel it and chop the flesh into pieces for cooking.
Store whole pumpkin in a dry, shaded place. Some will store over winter, and other varieties won't store that long, so check often.
I like to make mash and freeze them for winter soups.
For short time storage, place pieces in the fridge crisper.
Some types of pumpkin go watery when boiled. I find that Golden nugget is bad for that, but it is fine for other cooking methods.