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General Discussion

About Pumpkin Varieties [Split from SF Board]

Karen_Schaffer | Nov 20, 200604:29 AM     7

Ah, let me put on my gardening hat for a moment here. The reason many made from scratch pumpkin pies are so bad is that not all pumpkins are created equal. Actually, to be precise, 'pumpkin' is NOT a botanically precise term. 'Pumpkin' is a visual designation. Any winter squash can be called a pumpkin if fits our visual criteria for pumpkin: round, ribbed, orange (with a special exception made for the white ones).

Not everything that's called a pumpkin is even the same species! Most of them, the Jack-O-Lantern types, are Cucurbita maxima, but some like Small Sugar are C. pepo, and the ones that are used in canning such as Dickinson are C. moschata, which don't even look like a classic pumpkin. Go to
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/pl... and scroll down to see a picture of one. Further down the page is Winter Luxury Pie, reportedly one of the best for pie making.

The Jack-o-lantern types have been bred for thin walls that are easy to carve. Taste was not a factor! They make terrible pies because they're watery, stringy, not particularly sweet, and frankly not very tasty. Nothing wrong with the species -- some of the best eating squashes are C. maxima, but Jack-o-lanterns aren't them!

Hope this was of interest and not to gardening geeky. I have a passion for winter squashes. They're so beautiful, come in such a variety, and have a wide range of tastes and textures.

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