COLLEGE STATION — Pumpkin pickers know that selecting the right pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern is crucial to their project, but so is choosing the right one for meals.
If you plan on using pumpkins for decoration and meals, you’ll need at least two different kinds, said Dr. Dymple Cooksey, nutrition specialist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. Pumpkins contain much water, Vitamin A and fiber, and some varieties are more suitable for cooking than others.
The two main types are the small, sugar or pie type and jumbo or field type.
“For carving jack-o-lanterns, select Happy Jack, Halloween or Spookie varieties, which are larger than 12 inches and weigh 20 to 40 pounds,” she said. “These are too coarse, stringy and dry for eating.”
For pies and eating, choose a sugar or pie variety such as Small Sugar or Triple Treat. These are eight to 10 inches in diameter, weight six to eight pounds, are round, ribbed and bright orange. Their flesh is sweet and fine-textured, and rinds are thick.
“Even if you’re not planning to make a jack-o-lantern or bake a pie, pumpkins make great decorations,” Cooksey said. “They come in all sizes and shapes and add a wonderful fall touch to the office, home and at parties.”