Visit any farmer's market, farm stand or even supermarket, and you are likely to be inundated by a plethora of pumpkin potential. While all pumpkins are edible, there are definitely some that taste better than others.
You want pie pumpkins if you're going to make pies and other desserts. They have a nice, rich flavor and a less watery flesh than others. They are small and round, and are usually sold by pound.
Jack-o'-Lantern pumpkins are the bigger, round to oval-shaped pumpkins that end up with all manner of faces on them. Technically edible, they are not ideal for cooking.
Miniature pumpkins are those that you can hold in your hand. They're cute, but once again, not really good eating. Some folks do hollow them out to serve soups and other foods in, though.
Moschata pumpkins (C. moschata) are not strictly pumpkins, but are commonly used in foods. In fact, this is the kind that is most commonly grown for the canning industry (100 percent pure pumpkin? Well, not really).
Oilseed pumpkins are green-striped fruits that are harvested specifically for seeds. They are hull-less and ready to roast straight out of the pumpkin.
If you want to know more about growing pumpkins and pumpkin varieties, check out the article from my friend Barbara Pleasant in the June/July 2013 issue of Mother Earth News. You can find it at http://goo.gl/m3U1mE
At 10 a.m. Oct. 19, I'll be offering a workshop on "Growing Great Garlic" at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore Education Center. Come and learn about garlic (and other family members) and bring some of your own garlic to share and trade. The class is free, but registration is preferred. Call 304-720-0141, ext. 22, to register. Leave a message with your name if there is no answer.
John Porter is the WVU Extension Service agent for agriculture and natural resources in Kanawha County. He may be reached at john.por...@ mail.wvu.edu or at 304-720-9573. Twitter: @WVgardenguru.