There are more than 70 varieties of gourds and squash, so navigating the pumpkin patch is a little complicated. On Oct. 26, Boston restaurants celebrate National Pumpkin Day with fall-inspired delicacies, but here’s a gourd-geous guide to getting the most from them at home.
1. Fragrant, round and bright orange, the Cinderella pumpkin is a French variety. Also known as Rouge Vif D’Etampes, it was renamed for its resemblance to the iconic pumpkin carriage. Though great for carving and roasted seeds, its stringy consistency makes for a bad pie.
2. The Blue Hubbard squash may have an icy exterior, but its custard-like flesh is a vibrant shade of marigold. A mellow sweetness makes it ideal for a roasted side dish or creamy soup served with chunks of crusty bread.
3. Cousin to butternut squash, the Long Island Cheese pumpkin is the orange mash in a can of pie filling. This New England variety was nearly extinct in the late 1900s before farmers in Long Island recultivated it, mostly for use in pies.
4. The sugar pumpkin is as sweet as it sounds and can be roasted, sautéed, steamed or pureed. Its creamy texture pairs with savory flavors like herbs, curries and mushrooms or sweet ones like brown sugar, molasses and honey.
5. At first glance, an Ambercup squash looks a lot like a small pumpkin with burnt orange skin. The smooth flesh on the inside, however, makes it better for cooking than carving. Ambercup’s pulp can be scooped out, transforming the vegetable into an edible serving dish for salty fillings that complement its sweetness.
Pumpkins supplied by Snap Top Market, 303 Columbus Ave., Boston