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Everything You Need to Know About Pumpkins

A piece of pumpkin pie next to a pumpkin on a table

Hooray! It’s pumpkin season and, appropriately, we’re talking all things pumpkin. From the types of pumpkins for cooking and types of pumpkins to eat to our Halloween favorites, get ready to learn everything you need to know about the most popular gourd in the world.  

How Many Different Types of Pumpkins Are There? 

Did you know that there are more than 150 different types of pumpkins? It’s true. Pumpkins come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. You can eat pumpkins, decorate with them, use them as compost, and much more. Here are 10 more interesting facts about pumpkins.   

  1. Pumpkins are a fruit, not a vegetable. They’re part of a fruit family that includes watermelon, cantaloupe, and squash.   

  2. Pumpkins are about 90% water. Packed with nutrients and antioxidants, a pumpkin’s high water content also makes it a low-calorie snack. 

  3. Pumpkins contain approximately 500 seeds. Wash, season, and bake the seeds for a healthy Halloween treat. 

  4. The stem, skin, and flesh of a pumpkin are all edible. In fact, every part of the pumpkin is edible, including the leaves and flowers.  

  5. Blue pumpkins are some of the rarest. The pumpkin’s blue-grey coloring is a natural genetic trait developed through crossbreeding—not genetic modification.  

  6. Pumpkins are about 9,000 years old. The oldest pumpkin seeds were found in Oaxaca, Mexico, and date between 7000-5500 B.C. 

  7. The Irish were the first to carve Jack-O’-Lanterns. Irish immigrants brought the practice to America. 

  8. The heaviest pumpkin ever recorded was 2,702 lbs. It was a pumpkin grown in Tuscany, Italy. 

  9. The state of Illinois grows the most pumpkins. Each year, it harvests about 12,300 acres of pumpkins. 

  10. The largest species of pumpkins is called Atlantic Giants. They can grow up to 50 lbs each day.  

What Types of Pumpkins Can You Cook With? 

A batch of multi colored pumpkins stacked on top of each other

You can cook with almost all types of pumpkins, but not all pumpkin varieties are equally yummy. Offering a smooth texture and subtle sweetness, pumpkin is one of the most sought-after ingredients for several recipes—during fall and beyond. While you can indulge in everything from pumpkin bread to pumpkin pasta, the best types of pumpkins to eat include: 

  • Butterkin: A dark-orange flesh is also very smooth, making it ideal for creamy pumpkin soups and casseroles. 

  • Sugar Pumpkins: Containing less water than typical pumpkins, this squash offers mild sweetness that pairs well with savory dishes. 

  • Long Island Cheese: With stringless flesh, this gourd becomes tender and creamy, sweet, and earthy once it’s cooked—perfect for pies!  

  • Casper: This little white pumpkin houses bright orange flesh. It yields a sweet flavor that amps up baked treats and eats.  

  • Jarrahdale: A pear-shaped pumpkin that’s dense and dry, it’s super versatile and cuts easily. Use it to stuff raviolis or empanadas. 

  • Cinderella: With a mild-sweet flavor and moist texture, this winter squash is best used for sauces, purées, and curries.  

  • Dickinson: A pumpkin pie favorite, it has a sweet flesh and stores up to five months or longer. 

What is the Best Pumpkin Type for Halloween?   

Used for decorations and to celebrate the holiday, pumpkins are a Halloween staple. Whether they’re small and cute, big and strong, or have other unique qualities, these gourds are some of our favorites for Halloween.  

The best bumpy pumpkins: 

  • Warty Goblin 
  • Marina Di Chioggia 
  • Baby Bumps 

The best white pumpkins: 

  • Casper 
  • Cotton Candy 
  • Baby Boo 

The best black pumpkins: 

  • Dark Knight 
  • Batwing Mix 

The best pumpkins for carving: 

  • Autumn Gold 
  • Howden Field 
  • Magic Lantern 

There’s a right way to carve a pumpkin! Check out “6 Pumpkin-Carving Tips for Halloween” to learn more. 

The best mini pumpkins: 

  • Jack-Be-Little 
  • Orange Cutie 
  • Wee Be Little 

The best pumpkins for decorating: 

  • Gladiator 
  • Fairytale 
  • Cinderella’s Carriage 

Pumpkin Recipes That’ll Make Your Mouth Water  

These delicious pumpkin-flavored treats are sure to put your fall in motion.  

Pumpkin Bread 

Serves 6-8 


  • 2½ cups flour 
  • 3 cups sugar 
  • 2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp nutmeg 
  • 1 ½ tsp salt 
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten 
  • ¾ cup oil 
  • ½ cup water 
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree 
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped 


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. 
  2. Sift all dry ingredients together.  
  3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, and water, and gradually add dry mix to form a smooth batter. 
  4. Add pumpkin and mix well. Fold in pecans. 
  5. Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans and bake for 65-75 minutes or until firm.   

Pumpkin Crunch Cake 

Serves 18-24 


  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin 
  • 1 can evaporated milk 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 pkg yellow cake mix 
  • 1 cup almonds or pecans, chopped 
  • 1 cup butter, melted 
  • whipped cream (for topping) 


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Grease the bottom of a 9x13 pan and place a piece of parchment or wax paper on the bottom of the pan. 
  3. Combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. 
  4. Mix well, pour into pan and sprinkle cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture.  
  5. Top with pecans or almonds and drizzle with melted butter.  
  6. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown.  
  7. When cool, loosen from the sides of the pan with a knife.  
  8. Invert pan onto platter. The top becomes the crust. Finish by topping with whipped cream. 

Welcome Trick-or-Treaters 

Outfitted with knowledge about all the various types of pumpkins, the best pumpkins for Halloween, the types of pumpkins to cook with, and pumpkin recipes, there’s no doubt that your house will be a favorite for trick-or-treaters of all ages. Be the trick-or-treating host with the most—check out our Halloween candy guide for the top eight dos and don’ts for handing out the sweet stuff.