Anyone here’s favorite season is Autumn? So do we! Autumn brings beautiful colors, and among them, pumpkins are our favorite.
Would you agree that pumpkins bring out the creativity in people? Especially for all Halloween decorations and recipes.
Pumpkins have been grown for a very long time, and there are a lot of ways to use them. This is from cooking to crafting.
We have created a guide for many pumpkins to know what pumpkin suits you best in this awaited event.
Let’s pick the best pumpkin for your Halloween cooking and carving needs!
The Origin of Pumpkin Carving
Each Halloween, we always bring out our pumpkins and display them everywhere. But have you ever wondered why?
It all began in an Irish story. A man named Stingy Jack fooled the devil, then he died, and neither heaven nor hell wanted him.
So, the devil gave him burning coal, and Stingy Jack used it as light inside a hollowed-out turnip. Since then, people have called him “Jack of the Lantern”, which we now know as “jack-o’-lantern”.
In countries like Ireland and Scotland, people carved scary faces to scare away Stingy Jack and other evil spirits.
Why do we use pumpkins now since it all started with turnips or potatoes?
When Irish people came to America, they kept seeing pumpkins everywhere. A few of these pumpkins were plenty, bigger, and easy to carve. That’s why they started using them until today.
Best Pumpkins for Carving
Because Halloween is just around the corner, we know you’ve been planning on the decorations, especially with your pumpkins. Let’s go through a variety for first-time parents or those wanting to change things up a bit.
1. Pumpkins with Good Size and Shape
The perfect jack-o’-lantern always starts with finding the right-sized pumpkin. For example:
- Howden – These are the famous ‘Halloween pumpkins”. It’s classic and symmetrical. It gives out the perfect orange hue.
- Connecticut Field – Oldest and most traditional variety available. It’s an all-time nostalgic favorite.
2. A Pumpkin with Perfect Texture and Thickness
Aside from the physical trait, the inner part is also important in carving. It’s easier to carve and achieve the glow when light’s put in if it’s consistently thick.
- Gladiator – It’s smooth on the outside and thick on the inside. It’s an ideal pumpkin for carving.
3. A Pumpkin That Lasts Long
Halloween is an awaited occasion for those of all ages. What better way to celebrate if our pumpkins last longer than just a couple of days? Some pumpkins that are strong through the test of time include:
- Aladdin – Quite a magical name because of its extended shelf-life. It can retain its shape and structure even after Halloween for a few more weeks.
The Origin of Pumpkin in Culinary Uses
Before taking the spotlight on Halloween, pumpkins are known for their benefits as a seasonal vegetable.
In Central America, civilizations like the Aztecs and Mayans included pumpkins in their diet; this is the same for North Americans.
It has all the good stuff – vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. No wonder we can cook them in many different ways.
Today, America doesn’t just love pumpkins when grocery shopping for dietary needs. It’s a symbol of the autumn season worldwide. It has found its way through different global dishes – whether American-styled pumpkin soups or Asian curries.
Best Pumpkins for Cooking
Aside from the build and endurance of a pumpkin, how it tastes is also so important. You might have a few preferences on how you like your pumpkins to be. For instance:
1. Pumpkins with Sweetness and Flavor
Not all pumpkin varieties taste the same. So, if you want something sweet for your recipes, choose:
- Sugar Pie – This is definitely a crowd favorite. It’s small but flavorful. They’re sweet and dense as they melt in your mouth.
- Cinderella – More than just a fairytale-looking pumpkin, it’s reach and creamy. This kind is ideal for desserts and purées.
2. Pumpkins with Perfect Recipe Texture
Did you know that a great pumpkin recipe depends on the vegetable’s texture? Great examples would be:
- Fairytale – Consistently smooth, it differs from a watery, red-orange Cinderella pumpkin. It’s great for velvety soups and baking.
- Long Island Cheese – From its name, it looks like a wheel of cheese. Its consistency, like stew and casserole recipes, can hold up to longer cooking times.
3. A Pumpkin with Storage Potential
If you’re a busy person looking for a guide to meal planning or grocery shopping, there is a lot of fresh produce that lasts long and is healthier than canned. These include:
- Winter Luxury – It’s sweet, smooth, and has a long shelf life. The thick outer skin makes sure that the flesh remains sweet.
Pumpkins for Both Carving and Cooking
As much as there are specific pumpkins for carving and a variety for cooking, how about a pumpkin that can do both? We have one called the ‘Jack of All Trades’.
Whether carving a spooky face for your front porch or whipping up a delicious dish, this pumpkin has you covered. Its walls are medium thick and are ideal for carving. On the other hand, its flavor is perfect for your cooking.
If you’re using the Jack of All Trades pumpkin, here’s a piece of advice:
- Carve your pumpkin a day or two before Halloween
- Use the scooped-out flesh for cooking
After enjoying your pumpkins, you can make them good for your composting. You can even grow your local pumpkins and help the environment.
Halloween Pumpkins: Tips and Tricks
As you prepare for Halloween in your homes and kitchens, let’s make the most of this festive vegetable. In this section, let’s see how you can elevate your pumpkins to another level this season.
Tip # 1: Invest in a pumpkin carving kit.
Yes, you can use a kitchen knife, but a kit is much safer and more effective.
Tip # 2: Don’t forget the scooping tools.
These tools include spoons or pumpkin scrapers that remove the flesh and seeds.
Tip # 3: Sketch your design with a dry-erase marker.
This allows for easy corrections before making the cut.
Tip # 4: Preserve your pumpkins
Here are a few ways:
- Soak your carved pumpkin in a mix of water and bleach to kill bacteria.
- Apply a layer of petroleum jelly on the cut surfaces to slow the drying process.
- Store your carved pumpkin in a cool place during the day and display it in the evening.
Tip # 1: Prepare the seeds from the pulp.
Rinse the seeds and pat them dry with a paper towel. Toss them in olive oil, salt, and seasonings.
Tip # 2: Bake the seeds from the pulp.
Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast at 325°F (165°C) for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
Tip # 3: Use the perfect spices.
Classic spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. But don’t be afraid to experiment with savory profiles like sage, rosemary, or even chili for a spicy twist.
In The End
As you get more creative about what you want every Halloween, make the right decision by picking out the best pumpkins for the season. Each pumpkin variety brings its unique texture, flavor, and carving potential. Why not explore beyond the common?
Fresh Farms offers a delightful range of pumpkin varieties to enhance your Halloween experience. So, this Halloween, embrace everything about pumpkins, and may your festivities be filled with flavor, fun, and memories.