There are so many different types of pumpkins which is why they are one of my most favorite things to grow. So here I’ll talk about all of their characteristics and uses so you can best decide which pumpkin is best for you!
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What is a Pumpkin?
A pumpkin is a cultivar of a squash plant and is really just a winter squash. So you’ll hear pumpkin and winter squash used interchangeably.
The difference between winter squash and summer squash is that winter squash has a long storage life and can last through the winter months.
This means that many of your pumpkins will last for months, as long as they aren’t carved!
So is a pumpkin a fruit or vegetable?
It is a fruit.
The reason why a pumpkin is considered a fruit is because it is a product of a seed bearing structure of a flowering plant. Versus vegetables which are edible parts of plants, such as leaves, stems, and roots.
- Stem: The stem of the pumpkin is where it attaches to the plant. It is green while it’s growing but turns brown when it’s ready to be harvested.
- Skin: This is the outside, colored part of the pumpkin. Mature pumpkins can have all kinds of colored skin such as blue, orange, red, and white.
- Flesh/Pulp: This is the inside part of the pumpkin that you eat. The entire pumpkin is edible but this is the tasty part you would use to make pies with!
- Fibrous Strands: This is the part you scoop out when you carve your jack o’ lantern that all the seeds are inside of.
- Seeds: The seeds are in the fibrous strands and are the part of the pumpkin you would save to plant for next year. Or you can roast them and eat them for a tasty snack!
- Blossom end: This is the bottom of the pumpkin where it first started growing from the pumpkin plant.
Different Types of Pumpkins
There are over 100 different pumpkin varieties and with a little help you will soon be able to select the perfect pumpkin for any use!
Below I’ll go over all the different types of pumpkins by color, shape, sizes, and most common uses.
- Blue Doll – They have a unique blue color with a deep orange flesh that is great for pie, soup, or canning.
- Jarrahdale – Is an excellent pumpkin for storing. It has a sweet flesh and its rind is a beautiful blue, making it great for decoration.
- Blue Hokkaido – It has a gray-blue skin and a bright orange flesh. It’s beautiful and unique as well as delicious when cooked.
- Rouge Vif D’ Etampes – Also know as a Cinderella pumpkin, is a french heirloom with a beautiful red orange colored skin. It’s perfect for decoration, storing, and for eating.
- Red Etampes – These pumpkins are flat with deep ridges and have a reddish orange skin.
- Red Warty Thing – These have very hard thick rinds and are a deep orange with warty bumps over the skin.
- Flat White Boer – Is a bright white pumpkin that is very flat. It’s great for pies , baking, and to set out for decoration.
- Pumpkin Specter – This is an early maturing variety that can weigh up to 20 pounds. They are white with a lightly warty skin.
- Polar Bear – They are extra large, round, white pumpkins that have good color retention once they are mature.
Pumpkin Sizes and Shapes:
- Jack Be Little – These are the perfect tiny and cute pumpkins. They only weigh about 8 ounces, are flat, ribbed, and have bright orange skin.
- Spark – These are very uniform mini pumpkins with yellow and orange stripes.
- Casperita – These are super cute 1/2 to 1 pound mini white pumpkins.
- Giant Titan – These huge pumpkins can grow over 100 pounds. They also have a long shelf life up to one year.
- Dill’s Atlantic Giant – Huge pink to orange colored pumpkins. The current world record is an Atlantic Giant that was over 2,000 pounds.
- Big Max – These are huge, round pumpkins that can easily get to 100 plus pounds.
- Long Island Cheese Pumpkin – Is a flat, lightly ribbed pumpkin. It’s an excellent keeper and is popular for pies.
- Flat Stacker – This is a uniform flat white hybrid pumpkin. This would be a great pumpkin to use to make a succulent topped pumpkin.
- White Flat Boer Ford – It is a true white pumpkin that grows about 3-5 inches high and 8-12 inches wide.
- Porcelain Doll – These pumpkins have a beautiful pink coloration. They have a blocky shape and are truly unique.
- Marina Di Chioggia – This is really unique bumpy pumpkin that is a dark blue/gray color. It’s beautiful for a decoration and great for pasta making.
- Fairytale – These have a really unique color, are flatter shaped, and have deep ridges. They are also suitable for cooking with.
Best Tasting Pumpkins for Pie:
- Dickinson – The is one of the most valuable heirlooms in history for pumpkin pie. It has an excellent quality sweet flesh and will store for 5 months or longer.
- Winter Luxury Pie – It’s a smaller 6-lb. pumpkin with very sweet and smooth flesh. It’s known for being one of the best varieties for pies.
- New England Sugar Pie – They are a 4-5 lb. fruit with fine, sweet flesh that is excellent for pies.
RELATED: Find more great pumpkins for baking with here!
Best Carving Pumpkins:
- Howden – This is an old time favorite pumpkin variety. They are bright orange and are great for carving.
- Connecticut Field – This is an heirloom variety and is one of the oldest pumpkins around. It’s very popular for decorations and jack o’ lanterns.
- Jack O’ Lantern – These are a great choice for carving, as its name may suggest! They are also great for eating.
Best Painting Pumpkins:
- Snowball – These pumpkins are fairly small with bright white skin. They have a really smooth finish which makes them perfect for painting.
- Orange Smoothie – This is a medium to small orange pumpkin. It has smooth non ribbed skin which makes it great to paint on.
- Moonshine – This is a very uniform smooth-skinned, white pumpkin. It’s great for decoration, carving, or painting.
When to Plant Different Types of Pumpkins
Winter squash is typically planted in June or July when the soil is warm and then harvested in September or October when the fruit is fully mature and the skin has hardened.
The secret to planting pumpkins is to look at the days to maturity. Certain varieties like mini pumpkins only take 90 days to mature.
But other large varieties can take up to 120 days. So if you’re wanting a fall harvest be sure to plant accordingly for each different variety.
After harvest, winter squash can be cured and stored for later use. Its long shelf life is one of the reasons why it is such a popular choice for home gardeners.
Some pumpkins can store up to 6 months and longer!
So no matter what you are wanting your pumpkins for, I hope you can now easily pick your perfect pumpkin. There are so many different types of pumpkins to choose from, so get creative and have fun!
My favorite thing to do with pumpkins is to make succulent topped pumpkins.
I love succulents and so these are the perfect decoration or gift for the fall season. They also have a really long shelf life and once the pumpkin starts to rot you can plant the succulents, save the pumpkin seeds, and then grow your own pumpkin patch!
If you don’t have any seeds saved get your pumpkin seeds to plant here!