All pumpkins are edible, but these are the best varieties for cooking.
In addition to the name, this baby-sized pumpkin is just the right size for kids. Weighing only one to two pounds and with a deep orange color, the Baby Bear tastes great in pies and has thin seeds which are great for roasting. Bonus: Its miniature size and round shape allows for an alternative use as a bowl to serve soup, stews, and chili.
Just slightly bigger than the Baby Bear — at three to four pounds —and with the same deep orange color, the Baby Pam is sugary, starchy, and string-less, making it an ideal pumpkin to bake in pies. Its dry flesh also makes the pie denser.
Looking much like the pumpkins that Cinderella’s fairy godmother magically transformed into a carriage, the Cinderella — with a flattened shape and striking red color — carries a strong and sweet flavor. At 25 to 35 pounds, this type of pumpkin is one that was cultivated by early Pilgrim settlers and is said to have been served at the second Thanksgiving dinner.
Shaped like a cheese wheel, the Fairytale — weighing up to 30 pounds — is fine-grained and consists of a thick flesh that tastes like a winter squash. Its deeply set grooves and color that turns from green to mahogany when ripe makes it one of the more recognizable pumpkin varieties.
Tan-colored, flat in shape, and, like the Fairytale pumpkin, resembling a wheel of cheese, the Long Island Cheese has a very sweet, bright orange flesh and a shelf life of up to a year. Weighing six to ten pounds, this type of pumpkin can be hard to find, but easy to grow in your own backyard.
Also known as “Nantucket Pie,” the five to eight pound Long Pie looks nothing like a standard, round pumpkin. As its name suggests, it has an elongated shape, and its bright orange flesh is smooth and nearly string-less.
Known for making delicious pumpkin soup, the New England Pie has a superior consistency — string-less and slightly less sweet than the Baby Pam — that also makes for a thick filling in pies.
Similar in size to Baby Bear and Baby Pam, the two to three pound Trickster is similar in both sweetness and the deep orange color.
Unique in appearance with a round shape and a velvety texture, the Winter Luxury is an old heirloom variety that weighs up to six pounds at maturity and is very sweet. Be mindful that this beauty doesn’t store well, though.