Growing Pumpkins: Types Of Pumpkins To Grow And Cook

Pumpkins are as popular in stories as they are in kitchens. There are types of pumpkins to grow for carving up during Halloween such as the jack-o-lantern or making pumpkin pies.

Good pumpkin species produce fleshy fresh, dense, and sweet fruits. The big ones can make plenty of meals and baked products.

Producing this garden food requires a significant amount of area, water, and either warm or hot weather. But the results are incredible!

Pumpkins are members of the Cucurbitaceae family, and while most people are familiar with pumpkin pie, there are many types of pumpkins to grow and enjoy cooking using various recipes.

Pumpkins may be used to make a wide variety of delectable dishes, including muffins, pancakes, soups, stews, and even lasagna, after selecting the right types of pumpkins to grow and cook.

Some of the ways you can prepare and store pumpkins are by steaming, mashing, and freezing. When frozen, pumpkin can last up to 9 months.

Some heirloom types of pumpkins have fleshy moist and sweet flesh. They taste different compared to the canned pumpkin from the supermarket. Because they are fresh, they are great for baked products such as pumpkin bread.

I used thawed pumpkin instead of the butternut squash I normally use to make creamy soups, added a few spoonfuls of tomato sauces to give them body and a touch of sweetness, and added the moist puree to pancake mixes.

This year, I’ve made up my mind to cultivate the blue-shelled ‘Jarrahdale’ variety, which has deep orange flesh instead of the traditional white. This kind was developed in New Zealand.

Growing these will take 95 days, and they will require thorough watering and multiple layers of mulch throughout the growing season before they will produce an abundance of delicious fruits weighing between eight and ten pounds each.

The results of this work will be utilized in the preparation of roasted vegetable medleys, silky soups, savory stews, and delicious bread.

You won’t catch me turning any of these heirlooms into jack-o’-lanterns, but I might use a couple of the gourds that the vines produce as part of an autumnal arrangement for the front porch!

Carving the pumpkin would make the flesh inedible, and I don’t want to throw away any of my home-grown pumpkins, which I might use for cooking.

We have a guide that will assist you in being successful in cultivating your own pumpkins if you are interested in learning more about how to do so.

You can either take my advice and plant the kind that is best suited for cooking, or you can choose from among various heirlooms and hybrids.

I’ll detail 11 of the greatest ones for eating, including one that is white, a couple that appear downright strange, and one that yields those convenient hulless seeds that are tasty and simple to prepare.

Are you ready to put away the equipment for pumpkin carving and pick up a fork and knife to enjoy the pumpkins you grew yourself?

The following is a list of some great cooking pumpkin choices that I will be discussing in a bit more detail:

Oh, and you’ll need to decide which type to start growing first before you can proceed. Because these fruits are large in comparison to a lot of other garden favorites, and the vines need a lot of room, nutrition, and water, it is unlikely that you will be able to experiment with more than one or two different varieties of them.

I have compiled a list of 11 of the most useful cultivars for cooking purposes in order to make your decision a little bit simpler.


It’s possible that when you see a white pumpkin, your first thought is to exhibit it as a one-of-a-kind ornament. However, the white pumpkin variety known as ‘Casper’ contains deliciously sweet flesh.


After 115 days from the time of planting, the fruits may be picked, and their flesh, which is a rich orange color, is fantastic for use in meals that are either sweet or savory.

Cherokee Nation’s Bush

Despite the fact that it is one of the few bush kinds that can be grown at home, this option still requires space because it may spread between four and five feet.

The term “Cherokee Bush”

The fruits can weigh anywhere from five to eight pounds, and the golden yellow flesh can be roasted, used as the foundation for a cream soup, or pureed and added to the batter for making pancakes or muffins. All three preparations bring out the fruit’s full flavor.


The famous carriage from fairy tales is embodied in orange fruits that measure around 15 inches across. They also require a very short length of time, about 110 days, from the time of direct seeding till harvest.


You now have some additional time to prepare pumpkin-based savory dishes, such as pumpkin butter, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin pickles, as well as stock the freezer and start the canner.

This is a Cushaw Green-Striped.

When we moved into Genevieve’s South Knoxville home and she moved a couple of blocks away, she graciously allowed us to preserve the massive stockpile of frozen “Cushaw” cartons in the freezer. Genevieve was my first and most cherished mother-in-law.

Since then, I’ve had a strong interest in these winter squash with the silky-textured flesh.

Although they are officially pumpkins, you might not be able to tell by looking at their curving necks and white and green patterned shells that they are pumpkins.

They reach a length of around 20 inches when fully grown, and crafty designers use them liberally in autumnal and Halloween-themed arrangements.

“Cushaw Green-Striped” (also “Cushaw”)

On the other hand, the flesh has a flavor that is unmistakably pumpkin. It has a nice light hue, and in addition to being sweet and mild, it is delicious roasted, pureed for use in making pies or custards, or steamed for use in various salads and other dishes.

You will need to give these heirloom sprawlers a minimum of four feet of space between them in the garden. However, they will compensate you for every inch of that space with an enormous harvest of cooked squash that is both sweet and soft.

The Atlantic Monster Created by Dill

This may come as a surprise to you if you enjoy participating in the competitions at your local county fair to see who has the “biggest pumpkin.”

In addition to being the pumpkin variety of choice for gardeners that have their sights set on blue ribbons and even world records (a pumpkin that weighs 1,500 pounds! ), this behemoth also yields flesh that is delicious to eat.

From the time of direct seeding to the time of harvesting, ‘Dill’s Atlantic Giant’ requires 120 days.

To create one of the whoppers that are successful at state fair competitions would require commitment as well as many years of hard work. However, it is not unreasonable for you to anticipate harvesting one or more gourds from your “Dill’s Atlantic Giant” plant that weigh up to 400 pounds each.

“Giant of the Atlantic for Dill”

In order for the vines to produce fruit, they need a great deal of attention and care, especially considering the fact that in order for those enormous babies to form, the vines need additional water and nutrients, as well as a minimum distance of eight feet between each other.

However, the large pumpkins that you can grow (provided that you have enough room for the plants to sprawl) will make it simple for you to stock your freezer with orange puree that is velvety smooth and creamy, as well as savory soups, stews, and butters.


Another legacy that is both fanciful and useful, the name “Fairytale” originates from the French language and refers to a carriage that looks like Cinderella’s pumpkin that has been transformed into a carriage.

When fully mature, each fruit weighs around 15 pounds, and the time range from direct sowing to harvesting is 125 days.

The perseverance of the determined home cook will be rewarded, as the fruit with the deeply lobed skin has wonderful dark orange flesh that is dense and silky, making it an excellent ingredient for cooking.


There are even recipes where you bake the entire pumpkin (I’m not that ambitious, so I won’t include them here), or serve a soup or stew in the shell of the pumpkin.

You may have both looks and taste with this one since it has a flat, ribbed shape that is sure to be a showstopper at any dinner party or family Thanksgiving celebration!


I made the decision to cultivate this New Zealand-originated heirloom culinary cultivar since it matures its fruit in just 100 days when started from direct seeding and is renowned for its high yield.

Rose Kennedy took the photograph.

The fact that it had a ribbed blue-green matte shell and a flattened shape was merely a bonus to its overall appearance.

They stack neatly and look nice in an autumn arrangement, but the dense and weighty texture of the meat is what has me most thrilled about them.

Due to its stringless meat, which maintains its body when roasted or used as an ingredient in a stew, it can be utilized in sweet applications such as pies and other baked goods, but it truly shines when employed in savory preparations.


It is recommended to use ‘Jarrahdale’ since it can withstand high temperatures in some regions of the South and Southwest, but you can also grow it well in Northern climates if you have a growing season that is at least 100 days long.

Musquee De Provence

These French heirloom cooking pumpkins date back to 1899. They were grown in France. They result in the production of delightful oranges with firm, sweet flesh that can be used in either sweet or savory meals.

After direct planting, the harvest of fruits weighing 10 to 20 pounds takes approximately 120 days to mature.

This sort of cheese is called a “Muscade de Provence.” It gets its name from the smoky aroma that permeates it. The shells of this cheese are ribbed and lobed, and they have a muted brown-deep pink color. Instead of the vivid orange that is typical of jack-o’-lanterns.

‘Musquee de Provence’

However, this is not a problem because you will be cooking these winter squashes rather than carving them.


Grow them because they make delicious food, but don’t count on using them in baked goods! These hybrids yield the hull-less seeds, sometimes known as “naked” seeds, which are perfect for slow roasting and eating by the handful due to their ease of preparation.

However, the flesh is paper-thin and tasteless, making it unsuitable for pureeing or roasting.


Because of the mottled green and gold mature shells, the nine to ten pound fruits are also suitable for fall decorating; therefore, they continue to be a two-for-one pumpkin choice for the garden.

Even though they are little, they require a significant amount of area. During the growing cycle, which lasts for 100 days from planting to harvesting, the vines can reach a length of up to 13 feet in width.

That Bloody Scarlet Thing

How about it, “Red Warty Thing”? This cultivar goes by that moniker, and while it may sound peculiar, it actually describes it rather accurately.

This might be the best-tasting variety of of the numerous that can be grown and are wonderful for cooking, but they are not exactly what you would call pretty. (Although, I would add that it is gorgeous in a way that makes you wonder, “Isn’t nature odd and grand?”)

An heirloom, it is gaining popularity as a fall display item that can be found along roadsides. The rind is rough and has little bumps that have the appearance of warts; its color is a sunset orange.

It can be difficult to remove the stiff skin, but once you do, you’ll be rewarded with pound after pound of smooth, rich, sweet flesh that can be cooked, roasted, pickled, or frozen.

Think of them as something similar to Hubbard squashes, only that they are much larger and look even more ridiculous.

Because they can grow to be as heavy as 20 pounds, a single fruit can provide a substantial amount of flesh if it is properly prepared.

Because of their shellac-like exterior, they may be easily preserved for a few months in a location that is both cool and dark.

Rouge Vif d’Etampes

The name of this French heirloom pumpkin comes from the fact that it is flat and a rouge red color; if you still think of pumpkins as being orange and round, this will change your mind.

In English-speaking countries, this beauty is also known as “Red Etampes,” and it is practically the same hue as the red sky in the morning, which is the traditional and often-repeated warning given to sailors.

In spite of its unattractive appearance, the heavy, dense flesh of the pumpkin is a staple ingredient in the hearty, savory recipes that are typical of the fall season, such as roasted soups and vegetable curries.

There is a selection of packet sizes available for the ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes’ seeds.

Charlie Brown, this is the Pumpkin That’s Great for Eating!

The pumpkin cultivars that are suitable for eating come in a wide range of sizes. It takes the smaller ones, a shorter amount of time to produce edible fruit.

However, even the smallest window for harvesting ‘Pepitas’ that I am aware of is still 85 days.

It takes at least 110 days to grow a European or cheese variety tomato, and it takes between 100 and 110 days to harvest a Cherokee bush tomato, which can weigh up to five pounds when fully mature.

Even though there is a significant amount of lead time, I would encourage anyone who has the space to grow cooking pumpkins.

To begin, you will be in for a wonderful treat if you harvest and consume the blooms battered and fried or sliced into salads, just like you would do with zucchini or certain other species of squash. This will give you the same satisfaction as eating zucchini or other forms of squash.

Be sure to only pluck the male blossoms, which bloom at the end of a long thin stalk, until you are certain that you have enough pollinated flowers to ensure that your crop will be successful.

Second, keep in mind that even the pumpkins that are on the smaller side might provide a significant amount of flesh.

Therefore, if you are willing to wait, you will be able to harvest as much fruit from one vine as you would from four or five of another variety of winter squash. This applies whether you are growing butternut, acorn, or one of the specialty squashes that are becoming increasingly popular in the garden.

When you have such an abundant supply in your refrigerator or freezer, there is a wide variety of food that you can prepare with it.

You can begin by using recipes from our sister site, Foodal, such as Asian style curries or pumpkin hummus. You can also make more well-known pumpkin meals, such as pumpkin pancakes or pumpkin muffins.

After you have removed the seeds and broken the shell, you should have enough flesh left over from a single fruit to roast, purée, stew, or freeze it.

And if you cultivate a delicious gigantic variety such as ‘Dill’s Atlantic’ or another one, you’ll have enough food for an entire season from just one fruit!

If you have the time, you can anticipate fantastic things from these plentiful winter squash, just like Linus did in “Peanuts” when he was waiting in his patch for the Great Pumpkin.

If you have your own personal favorite eating variety, please share them with me in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you.

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