There are amazing squash varieties to grow that are mainly ornamental. And there are amazing varieties to grow for eating, and I think those are always ornamental, as well! There is a nostalgia that stirs me when the squash and pumpkins begin to make their way into my kitchen. It is pure coziness to see the harvest as they are set in various nooks, here and there.
Choosing Amazing Squash Varieties Each Year
Every winter, my husband and I make our decision about the type of pumpkins we will grow for the coming growing season. I always see so many beautiful pumpkins in the seed catalogs, and I would like to grow many of them. In the end, we choose from among the varieties that are best for eating. We have limited space in our garden for extensive vines, so our pumpkins have a double purpose. Our pumpkins must look decorative, as they are waiting to be roasted!
Key traits of the pumpkins we choose are flavor, texture, and length of time they will keep in storage. Since we grow our pumpkins for eating, these facts are very important. There is a vast difference in flavor and texture, in particular, among pumpkin varieties. In our garden, this year, we have three varieties: Blue Hubbard, Autumn Frost, and Winter Luxury. These are all wonderful to grow for eating!
Is It A Squash Or A Pumpkin?
Winter squash and pumpkins are interchangeable in recipes, however, there are differences.
The stems of pumpkins are firm, if you squeeze them between your fingers they will not give under the pressure. Squash stems are slightly hollow, which you can see and feel upon closer examination.
In addition to the stem, another difference between squash and pumpkins is the nutrient content of their seeds. Seeds of pumpkins have a higher content of fatty acids, like omega 6 and omega 9. Squash seeds contain higher fiber and protein.
Blue Hubbard Squash
Though Blue Hubbard appears to be a pumpkin, it is technically a squash. We bought our seeds for these at a favorite, somewhat local, business. You can find them here.
In my opinion this is an amazing squash variety because, although it is so large with such a thick skin, it still has such a good flavor.
Blue Hubbard squash can grow to be large, 15-20 pounds is an average weight. Often gardeners report even larger weights among their harvest. These beauties have a dense texture and are sweet and flavorful, despite their size.
They have a long storage capacity, 6 months under the right conditions. Because the rind is quite thick, it preserves the edible part inside. For the purpose of storage, keep them in a cool and dry place, under 50 degrees F.
The smoky blue-gray color of this squash variety makes it rustic and elegant for displaying and decorating throughout the fall season.
Incidentally, my husband planted the Blue Hubbard squash near our garden as a “trap crop”, this has been his method in the past to lure squash bugs and cucumber beetles away from our summer squashes. You can read more about that here. They usually don’t produce well due to insect damage, but this season we actually have harvested some. And we have had a great harvest of summer squash, as well!
Autumn Frost Squash
Autumn Frosts are, again, technically among the winter squash varieties. We found this squash here. These are a medium sized squash that produce a lot on one vine, up to 9 or 10. The characteristic of being abundant has been true, in our experience. Noticeably more than other varieties we have grown.
They look so attractive peeking out from under leaves! To me, there is something so sentimental and thrilling about seeing them ripening on their vines in our garden. I will never tire of it.
Autumn Frosts are sweet and flavorful, and have a dense smooth texture. With these details in mind, I am eager to use one of these in a recipe! Due to the medium size, cutting this squash variety in half may be more manageable than a larger variety, as well.
For the purpose of decorating, this one of my amazing squash varieties is so lovely. As it matures on the vine, it develops a misty looking patina on its tawny rind. My eyes prefer a muted antique patina like that on just about everything! And the color pairs well with the Blue Hubbard squash.
Winter Luxury Pumpkin
The third variety we are growing this season is the Winter Luxury pumpkin. You can find them here. This has always been a favorite for me. This pumpkin is very aptly named because it is very luxurious ingredient in recipes. The texture is unparalleled, it makes very silky pies that stand out as being special. My recipe for The Best And Easiest Pumpkin Custard is so delicious made with this pumpkin.
Additionally, the size of the Winter Luxury is manageable, a medium sized pumpkin. The finished amount of pumpkin puree from one of these is enough for approximately two pies. Another option is to bake or cook with half the resulting puree, and freeze the other half. I also have baked with some of my just processed puree and refrigerated the remainder, which will keep for about five days. Then, later in the week, I have put the rest into a baked good or soup.
Amazing Squash Varieties For Next Year
My husband and I are not yet planning for next year, but there are a few winter squash that I may add to the garden. Some that look promising are the French heirloom, Galeux D’Eysines and the Gold Nugget winter squashes. We will decide, for sure, later in the year. But it is very fun to think about the options!
I hope all of this has been helpful and inspiring to you. Maybe you will want to start growing amazing squash varieties and pumpkins in your garden!
Have you any favorite varieties in your harvest this season? What are your garden successes from this season? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for stopping by,