Here’s a list and some photos of my favorite pumpkins and winter squash. Give them some room, water and ample composted manure and the vines will reward you with the goods to make soup, pies, gratins, and side dishes all winter long.
Galeux d’Eysines pumpkin, a perennial favorite pumpkin of mine, bakes up nicely into one fine pie, and has also been known to bring home an award or two. Beneath its warty complexion, you’ll find a rich flesh perfect for roasting.
This once rare wonder from Down Under is now readily available from several heirloom seed sources. The plant is vigorous and the small to medium size pumpkins many. Another greater roaster, this squash boasts a solid meat interior with a very small seed cavity.
Prolific Buttercup (Burgess) squash is a nice choice for the small garden and those liking a serving size squash. It’s perfect halved and baked, or stuffed with wild rice or savory bread custard.
Queensland Blue pumpkin is a work of art, and lucky for us, its deep lobes of jade hide a sweet orange flesh perfect for pies, soups, roasts or jams. And,it’s a very good keeper. (Taters are Makah Ozettes, a NW heirloom.)
Sweet meat is a sweet choice, and an heirloom pick from the Pacific Northwest. It’s never failed me, grows easily in cool climates, and keeps longer than any other pumpkin I grow. If you wish to make pumpkin pie for Easter dinner, plant Sweet Meat in June.
Another great vine for the small garden, Winter Sunshine gives you more squash for your square foot, producing (at least for me) five to six softball-sized fruit per vine. In the eye candy department, I know of no deeper-hued squash.
Words of caution: Stick with Connecticut Field and Howden pumpkins for carving jack-o-lanterns, as they tend to be too watery and bland for cooking. And forget carving on the culinary type shown above. Their dense walls would require dental tools and a skill saw to make a respectable ghoulish gourd.