Have you ever heard of "Pie Pumpkins"? Well, you probably should be using them. That's right, not all pumpkins are created equal.
Pie pumpkins are any one of several varieties of pumpkin grown for eating rather than decorative purposes. Generally, pie pumpkins are smaller and more dense than decorative pumpkins. Recipes calling for pumpkin may use canned or fresh pie pumpkins, but should never have decorative pumpkins used as a substitute.
In North America, decorative pumpkins are carved into jack-o-lanterns in honor of Halloween. Pumpkins bred for this purpose are usually meant to be very large, mostly hollow and flat-bottomed for stability. The side effect of the large growth is that the flesh of the pumpkin is usually watery and bland. Although the seeds inside decorative pumpkins are excellent for toasting, the flesh should not be eaten, as it is usually tasteless. Common varieties of decorative pumpkin include Howdon biggy and Connecticut field.
Pie pumpkins are small and dense and usually have a medium or dark orange color. They usually appear in markets and grocery stores in September, and continue to be sold through November. The most common variety of pie pumpkin is the deliciously flavorful sugar pie, but other eating pumpkins may include winter luxury, deep red, and golden cushaw.