If those big, round orange pumpkins survived Halloween out on your front porch, they
should stay there. You see, while they are great for decorating, they’re fairly useless in the kitchen. They just don’t taste that good. However, there are wonderful heirloom pumpkins and squash, available at your farm market and increasingly in grocery stores, that taste much better.
“Really?” You ask incredulously. “They’re kind of odd, even ugly.” Trust me.
Here are some of my favorites:
Blue Hubbard: This blue, grey, football-shaped pumpkin delivers that rich, classic pie pumpkin flavor you’re dreaming of. While their mature size is enormous and a bit unwieldy, many farmers are harvesting them at a comfortable two pie size.
Galeux d’Eysine: This pale peach pumpkin is covered in growths that look like peanut shells. Far from an affliction, they are the result of high concentrations of sugars building up under the skin. This sweet pumpkin has significantly less fibers flesh than many of its cousins, resulting in a delicate smooth puree, perfect for soups.
Use it in pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin soup.
Musque de Provence: Also known as the Fairytale pumpkin, this large pumpkin is beautifully colored in dark greens and buff orange/brown tones. The bright, deep orange flesh is delicious and rich. A great choice for recipes where it needs to stand up to other flavors like pies and lasagna.
Pink Banana: Hugely popular in the late 1800’s this pumpkin is just now reappearing at farm markets. The flesh is mild with a taste of cucumber. It’s easy to peel and chop making it a great choice for recipes where you want cubed pumpkin rather than purée. Try it in this pumpkin (not potato) salad and quick pumpkin chili.
Speckled Hound: This one may take a little more work to find. It’s pale peach speckled with blue grey and falls between the Hubbard and “peanut pumpkin.” The flesh is sweet, rich and relatively smooth. This is the pumpkin we accidentally spread on homemade pizza dough, confusing it with puréed tomato sauce. A happy accident, topped with lamb sausage and cheese, it was delicious!