We grow a variety of pumpkins every year: pie pumpkins, warty orange, white, dark green, butterscotch, and the traditional carving pumpkins. While most pumpkin varieties are edible, especially pie pumpkins, not all of them are. Gourds are especially unappetizing, with a strong bitter flavor. But they are all beautiful! When October comes around, we have bushels and bushels of colorful gourds and pumpkins on display at the market.
Season: Late September - October
If you would like to store pumpkins for any longer then a week or two, choose one with unbroken skin as any break in the skin will eventually rot. Store in a cool, dark place.
Tip: Once you carve your pumpkin into a jack o'lantern, spray it or dunk it in a solution of water and bleach (one tablespoon bleach per gallon of water). That should help your jackolantern last a little longer.
Longterm Storage: Cooked pumpkin will keep well in the freezer, either plain and ready to add to a recipe, or in a completed dish. Read safe and detailed instructions at the National Center for Home Food Preservation's page about preserving Pumpkin.
Everyone knows about pumpkin pie, but pumpkin is a delicious ingredient in many other dishes. When roasted and served mashed as a side dish, it can either be sweetened with honey or maple syrup, or seasoned with salt, pepper, and butter. It can also be added to soups or chillis. The combination of pumpkin with clove, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg has been used in just about any dessert you can think of, from creme brulee to ice cream, breads, and cakes.
You can substitute your own homemade pumpkin puree (which is very easy to make) in any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin.
Pumpkins and Winter Squash are similar enough to share the same history and general nutritional information. Go to the Winter Squash page to read more.