When it comes to culi­nary charisma or dec­o­ra­tive charm, not all pump­kins are cre­ated equal.

A trip to a local pump­kin patch will excite even the most senior pumpkin-​picker-​outers.

Heir­loom vari­eties of this win­ter squash give every­one rea­son to find a new fall favorite.

Orange is def­i­nitely not the only color in the box, though var­i­ous shades of orange run the full spec­trum. Unusual mark­ings and tex­tures, enchant­ing names and inter­est­ing shapes open pump­kin pos­si­bil­i­ties for cre­ative décor and dis­plays.

Old school vari­etals break the mold on tra­di­tional orange orbs. Cool col­ors like salmon, white, blue, gray and green bring much more inter­est to the field. Bumps, stripes, streaks and warts give curios­ity a sat­is­fac­tory platform.

The French love pump­kins and have cul­ti­vated many trea­sures. One of their finest, “Brodé Galeux D’Eysines” is a visual mas­ter­piece. It has pale salmon-​orange skin cov­ered with amaz­ing veins of pro­trud­ing warts. It also yields plenty of smooth, rich pump­kin flesh for pies, tarts or savory dishes.

The Jar­rah­dale pump­kin, a grow­ing Amer­i­can favorite, is native to Aus­tralia. This is a cross between a Blue Hub­bard squash and the Cin­derella pump­kin. The skin of the Jar­rah­dale is what makes it so dis­tinc­tive,. It has a hard gray­ish rind, con­trasted against a thick orange inner flesh. The heavy-​rimmed, drum-​shaped pump­kin yields a sweet, com­plex inte­rior; per­fect for muffins, breads, soups and casseroles.

The Rouge Vif D’tampes, com­monly called the Cin­derella pump­kin is most endear­ing. The impres­sive car­riage shape con­jures up fairy­tale dreams.

Pump­kin folk­lore melds with pop­u­lar cul­ture via carv­ings, sto­ry­telling and culi­nary inge­nu­ity. Jack-o’-lanterns aside, we think of pump­kin squash as a Super­food and the seeds as a super snack.

Sugar pie /​Pie pump­kin are those smaller ones (48 pounds) most ideal for cook­ing and bak­ing appli­ca­tions. Once you’ve pro­cured those, treat them as any other win­ter squash in recipes.

Roast them whole or steam them. Cut them into more man­age­able smaller pieces or chunks for soups, cur­ries and tagines. When it comes to bak­ing, make a pump­kin puree read­ily equipped for pies, muffins and quick desserts. The puree will freeze well, so make extra batches for the hol­i­days.

Save the seeds for delec­table, spicy munchies. Oven toasted, these once every sea­son crunchy seeds are an addic­tive savory snack.

Intro­duce the fam­ily to fall pump­kins. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

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