Chow Town

September 7, 2013

Five pumpkins to look out for this fall

Something happens after Labor Day.

Chow Town

The daily dish on Kansas City's food and drink scene

Something happens after Labor Day.

The stores decide to display Halloween decorations and pumpkins. Psychologically getting us ready for the cool down.

Over the last five years it seems there has been an upswing in the varieties of pumpkins available. Some are green with warts, flat, bright orange, or striped. Many people use these unique pumpkins as decoration.

It turns out pretty pumpkins are multifunctional. Not only are they gorgeous but these five pumpkins also taste great.


This is a large slightly flattened rich orange pumpkin with deep veins. It is a unique French variety, which has been recorded as the pumpkin cultivated by the Pilgrims and served at the second Thanksgiving gathering.

This pumpkin resembles that which turned into a beautiful carriage by Cinderella’s fairy godmother.

They have a delightful flavor and texture good for any pie recipe.

Cotton Candy

These pumpkins are bright white like granulated sugar with a tender orange flesh.

Their skin is a little hard, so be careful carving, or cutting to bake. The texture is a bit moister than the others, but goes great in soups or risotto. Slightly sweet but just as tasty as it is beautiful.


This also is a pumpkin from the French. It is similar to the Cinderella with it’s shape and deep ribs, but the skin has a clay appearance of light terracotta. When it reaches full maturity the color deepens to a deep mahogany.

The texture is fine and is brilliant in pies.


Pumpkin seed lovers, this one is for you.

The Kakai has orange skin with deep green ribs and resembles a hard winter squash. Here’s the best thing, the seeds have no hull, or outer shell, so they are very easy to roast. They are crunchy and take on flavor well.


These are ghostly white pumpkins, which look spooky carved with a slight relief and a candle placed inside. The orange flesh creates an intriguing contrast. The Lumina is the ultimate multitasker. Its beauty catches our eye and the flesh bakes well for pies, soups, stews and any other recipe possible.

It is my favorite pumpkin. Make them last longer by putting them in full sun, it may even become a brighter white.

The pumpkin has carried Cinderella, fed the Pilgrims and baked sweet and savory treats. This year, when you pick the pretty ones, remember they will taste great too.

Renee Kelly is the owner of Renee Kelly’s Harvest in Johnson County. Her passion lies in changing the food system, one plate at a time. Her inspiration is Mother nature and the many growers in the Kansas City area.

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