Before you venture into your local pumpkin patch, though, familiarize yourself with a few heirloom pumpkin varieties. And lucky for you, we've listed 12 tasty heirlooms below. All edible and equally rad.
How to prepare heirloom pumpkins
You can grill, steam, bake, boil, or roast plain pumpkin. Pumpkin also can be pureed and baked in bread or cake, or cooked in soup, etc. Pumpkin is a great source of nutrition (pumpkins are typically packed with dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, copper, manganese, vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus), and pumpkin seeds are full of nutrients, too!
Heirloom pumpkin varieties to try
Check for these fun pumpkins at your local market. And be advised: heirloom pumpkins are total rebels. These round-fruited squash can be orange, white, green, brown, smooth, bumpy, or striped.
These orange pumpkins have unique, dark green ribs. Kakai is known for its tasty, hull-less seeds. We read the seeds taste great when roasted.
2. Marina Di Chioggia
The sweet orange flesh is great in baked goods and pies. This pumpkin is an Italian heirloom and its skin is super interesting – it is deep blue green and knobby.
3. Orange Smoothie
These small pumpkins weigh less than five pounds. The smoothie’s flesh is edible (yum!) and can be baked.
4. Queensland Blue
The Queensland can be used as a festive fall decoration and then baked when autumn turns to winter (it stores very well). The Queensland is an Australian variety. It was introduced to the United States in 1932.
Cinderella Pumpkins are a French heirloom (they also are known as Rouge vif D'Etampes).
"This pumpkin is recorded as having been the variety cultivated by the pilgrims and served at the second Thanksgiving dinner. Cinderellas make a delightful decorative accent for the fall season, but additionally their flavor is good for any pie or winter squash recipe.” - via allaboutpumpkins.com
6. Cushaw Green and Gold
These pumpkins resemble a bowling pin and have a long neck.
"Some are straight, some are crooked. They come in different color combinations. Some are cream with gold stripes, others are cream with green stripes."
Coloring typically depends on the amount of heat pumpkins are exposed to in the summer.
From the Organic Authority Files
"They have a lightly golden flesh" and "are good as an ingredient, or excellent just plain with butter. We like to use them as a mashed potato substitute. They have a very refined pleasing texture, and as a bonus are a good keeper.” – via allaboutpumpkins.com
7. Baby Pam Sugar Pie
“Sugar Pies are the modern baking pumpkin. If you want to bake pies, and want a pumpkin instead of squash, this is the pumpkin for you! The skin is very thin, the flesh is sweeter and substantially finer grained than a jack-o-lantern type pumpkin (they were bred for thick rinds and stability when carved...not eating!). It is also quite dry which makes for a more stable pie.” – via allaboutpumpkins.com
Great pumpkin-pie pumpkins
Geat for pie baking.
9. New England Pie
A classic, traditional heirloom.
Known for the pumpkin’s orange interior flesh and delicious flavor.
11. Long Island Cheese
This pumpkin can be stored up to a year in direct sun and is a favorite in the New York and New Jersey area.
This pumpkin is from France and cures to a deep mahogany color.