Skip to Content

How to pick a Pumpkin

| Updated Oct 19, 2019

Whether you are visiting a pumpkin patch, roaming a Farmers Market or just wondering ‘what are the differences'  between the multiple pumpkin varieties of squash you come across while you are shopping for produce…

Here is an alphabetical guide that will give you some insight into what the heck to do with this particular squash.

Pumpkin varieties

  • Aladdin: These pumpkins are grouped under the Jack-O-Lantern variety, grow within the range of 8-15 pounds and can be described as mildew-resistant.
  • American Tonda: These pumpkins are highly attractive and deeply ribbed. They also store well. The color of the outer ribs of the pumpkins is dark green, and the inner ribbed portions consist of golden orange hues that turn yellow as they mature.
  • Amish Pie: Originating from the Maryland Mountains, these pumpkins are orange-colored and apple-shaped. They come in medium to large shapes. These pumpkin types can be considered for baking purposes. Also, they can be stored for long durations. They are available in large and medium sizes.
  • Baby Bear: These types are known to weigh in the range of 2-5 pounds. Also, they are flat-shaped and fine-stemmed. The seeds can be relished after they are roasted.
  • Baby Boo: These miniature-shaped pumpkins are white-colored. They have a tendency of turning yellowish in color if they are not protected from the sun’s rays following their harvesting. They do not store well and should be consumed within a short duration after being plucked.
  • Baby Pam Sugar Pie: These pumpkins are ideal for baking uses. They are popular for preparing pies as they are dry in nature, thereby imparting a firm texture to the baked items. These varieties are sweet-flavored, fine-grained and thin-skinned.
  • Big Rock: Weighing between the ranges of 8-15 pounds, these pumpkins are medium-sized and orange-colored.
  • Big Max: These pumpkin types rate the largest in size, and can weigh more than 135 pounds. Use them as an ingredient in baked items.
  • Charisma: A member of the Jack-O-Lantern variety, these pumpkin types weigh around 8-15 pounds. They are resistant to mildew.
  • Cinderella: Symbolic with the story of Cinderella, these pumpkins are used for edible and decorative purposes. They are also known as ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes.’
  • Cotton Candy: These white-colored pumpkins are considered handy for carving.
  • Cushaw Green and Gold: Shaped as bowling pins, these pumpkins are cream-colored with green or gold stripes. The golden-colored flesh can be added to dishes when cooking or cut, seasoned, roasted and cut into bite sized pieces or mashed similar to mashed potatoes.
  • Fairytale: Available in mahogany colors when mature, deeply-ribbed, smooth-textured, fine-grained, can be used for baking pies.  This pumpkins real name is ‘Musque De Provence’.
  • Full Moon: These jumbo-sized pumpkins grow to around 50 -100 pounds or more, and are available in shades of white. Use them for decorative purposes.
  • Halloween in Paris: These yellow-colored pumpkins originally came from France. Their puréed form can be added to dishes. 
  • Hooligan: Miniature-sized, golden-colored, and orange-ribbed, the Hooligan pumpkins belong to the category of edible pumpkins and good to use in soups.
  • Howden: The Howden pumpkins are part of the Jack O Lantern variety, and are used for carving purposes. Their average growth lies within the range of 8-15 pounds, and they display orange shades.
  • Howden Biggie: Bigger than the Howden varieties, the Howden Biggies are used extensively for carving.
  • Iron Man: Cannon-shaped, orange, small-sized and hard-shelled.
  • Jack-Be-Little: These tiny orange pumpkins are sweet and edible.
  • Jack-Be-Quick: Longer-stemmed and larger-sized than the Jack-Be-Little varieties, the Jack-Be-Quick pumpkins have bright orange hues.
  • Jarrahdale: These drum-shaped, green-colored and deeply-ribbed pumpkin varieties are used for baking. They are native to Australia.
  • Kakai: Green-ribbed, orange-colored, and hard-shelled. The seeds should be roasted to make them suitable to eat.
  • La Estrella: These unusually shaped pumpkins weigh around 5 pounds, and their skin is a mix of orange and green.
  • Lil’ Pumpkemon: Available in cream and orange shades, these pumpkins are mini-sized, good for decorating corners.
  • Long Island Cheese: Flat-shaped, sugary-flavored and orange-colored, the Long-Island Cheese pumpkins can be stored for over a year when not exposed to sunlight.
  • Lumina: The exterior of Lumina pumpkin varieties is white in color, and their flesh is orange-hued. They can be used for both cooking and carving purposes. It is advised to place these pumpkins under the sun for retention of their white color.
  • Mandy: The Mandy pumpkins are large and upright in shape.
  • Marina Di Chioggia: The flesh of these greenish-blue pumpkins is sweet to taste, and for this reason, they are used in baking recipes.
  • Musque de Provence: Refer to Fairytale
  • Neon: Dark-green when immature, the Neon pumpkins turn yellow as they ripen. They are not known to grow large where their size is concerned.
  • New England Pie: Such varieties are fairly small in size, and weigh around a few pounds. Pies and baked items can be prepared using them.
  • Old Zebs: Exhibiting an orange color, the Old Zebs are often compared to the Neon varieties, due to their upright shape.
  • One Too Many: Cream-colored, orange-striped and moderately-sized, suits the description of these pumpkins.
  • Orange Smoothie: Small in size and weighing less than 5 pounds, the Orange Smoothies are suitable for baking and decorating.
  • Pic-A- Pie: Pies are baked with these pumpkin varieties.
  • Prizewinner: A member of the jumbo-sized varieties, the orange-colored Prizewinners can weigh  50 to 100 pounds or more.
  • Queensland Blue: Native to Australia, these pumpkins are deeply ribbed and buttercup-shaped. This pumpkin is edible and can be roasted or added to dishes during cooking.
  • Red Warty Thing: The red-colored skin of these varieties is hard and warty. The flesh of the pumpkins is edible and tasty.
  • Rock Star: These pumpkins grow to be 8-15 pounds. They are orange-colored and medium-sized.
  • Rouge Vif d’Etampes: Refer to Cinderella
  • Valenciano:  Can be used for pie-making. However, it may be noted that these pumpkins are white in color, similar to the Lumina. Also, their ribbed patterns are similar to the Cinderella varieties.
  • Wee-Be-Little: Contoured like tennis balls, the wee-be-littles can also be described as mini-sized, round-shaped, and orange-colored.

Here is a quick and easy recipe for making pumpkin seed snacks for a camping trip… 

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe


1                pumpkin

1 – 2 tbsp.  vegetable oil

salt and pepper (add other spices if you like)


  1.  Rinse the pumpkin, pat dry then cut the pumpkin and remove the pumpkin seeds and stringy pulp that is attached to the seeds.
  2.  In a colander, rinse and separate the pumpkin seeds from the pulp.
  3.  Spread the seed onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4.  Season the pumpkin seeds with salt and pepper.
  5.  Place the sheet pan in a preheated regular or convection oven set to 250 F degrees and roast for 10 minutes.
  6.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven, allow the seeds to cool slightly then toss. Store the pumpkin seeds after they reach room temperature and enjoy them as a snack.

My cookbook will be available again starting 11/19/19!

My cookbook Small Kitchen Big Flavors! is available for pre-purchase.  Mailings will begin 11/1/19.  The book is at a great Introductory Price on Ebay and my blog site at : http:/

Mike Wendland

Published on 2019-10-19

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

One Response to “How to pick a Pumpkin”

October 20, 2019at9:29 am, Corinne Aguirre said:

You added oil as one of the ingredients. When do I use the oil?

Comments are closed.

Back to top