The Difference Between Pie Pumpkins And Carving Pumpkins

When spooky season hits, so does the urge to stab a pumpkin until it becomes a work of art. Then, there's also the urge to eat a pumpkin pie immediately. Have you ever noticed any differences between baking pumpkins, also known as sugar pumpkins, and jack-o-lantern pumpkins? You may think that a pumpkin is a pumpkin no matter how you slice it. However, if you were to grab a carving pumpkin to celebrate the start of fall and use it to bake a mouth-watering pumpkin pie, your mouth would be left watering — but mostly as you're spitting it out. To avoid putting all that effort into your bake only to realize you chose the wrong type of pumpkin to start, it's best to learn a few key distinctions between the two.

Sometimes when buying farm pumpkins, you'll notice a pretty obvious sticker when you pick up a sugar pumpkin that lets you know that it's for eating, but that's not always the case. The three main traits to spot the differences between pie and carving pumpkins are a pumpkin's size, the pulp texture inside, and its shell thickness (per The Kitchn). Once you know what to look for, it becomes a lot easier to find the perfect pumpkins for cooking all of those delicious pumpkin recipes for fall.

Bigger is the best canvas, but smaller is tastier

There are a few pumpkin picking secrets to know to ensure you bring home the best-looking jack-o-lantern from the patch each year. One of the best ways to identify a carving pumpkin is by its size. According to She Knows, these pumpkins are made to be ideal for carving, so they are typically larger and carry more water weight than smaller pumpkins designed for cooking. In contrast, the sugar pumpkins you find at the store or at your local farmer's market are tiny, and thus packed with dense flesh rather than the stringy mess of pumpkin guts you'll encounter when carving jack-o-lanterns. And, of course, the bigger the pumpkin, the thinner the shell and easier the carve.

Pie pumpkins are sweeter and richer than carving pumpkins, which can be bland and almost bitter (via My Fearless Kitchen). Did you know there are also different varieties of pumpkins you can choose from? You can find medium-sized ones, like Autumn Gold or Hobbit pumpkins, or if you want to go even bigger with your Halloween gourd art, you could opt for Wolf or Gold Rush kinds that range from 15 to 35 pounds (via The Kitchn). The same is true for a variety of pie pumpkins out there. Ghost Rider or Lumina pumpkins are a couple of types great for baking, according to The Kitchn. With this new skill, you're sure to bake the right pie and eat it too!