How to Pick the Best Pumpkins for Carving, Stacking and Decorating
Any pumpkin can be used for ornamental decor if you like the look of it. Many of the edible "pie pumpkins" have quite unusual coloring and texture making them just as valuable on the front porch as in the kitchen.
I especially like the minis, which come in a variety of colors and can be used grouped together to fill a see-through wire container or glass apothecary jar. Or simply mound a bunch of them together with votive candles.
The best carving or jack-o-lantern pumpkins are those that have a fairly flat base and skin that is not so thick that it is difficult to carve. These pumpkins typically weigh about 10 pounds and are maybe a foot tall.
The "original" jack-o-lantern pumpkin is the Connecticut Field pumpkins which were grown by Native American Indians. Their texture is more smooth and less ridged, making them easier to carve. Another popular carving variety is the Howden pumpkin, which has all the good attributes of the Connecticut Field pumpkins, but last longer once carved.
A few of my favorite ornamental pumpkins include:
Blue Doll pumpkin
This exotic looking pumpkin weighs in at 15-plus pounds and has a blocky, almost square shape with deep ribs. That, combined with its dusky blue color, makes it a fun decorative fruit.
I hope my enthusiasm for the versatile, beautiful, and charismatic pumpkin will inspire you to try a new recipe or two. I am always on the lookout for new ways to incorporate it into my autumnal menus. And as you start thinking about your fall decorations, consider adding a colorful, white, squat, or warty pumpkin to some of your designs. New and more fanciful varieties are introduced each year, and they add plenty of whimsy to this already magical season.