16 of the Best Dual-Purpose Heirloom Pumpkin Varieties to Grow 

If you are planning to grow your own pumpkins, take the time to research different varieties to choose the one that will work best for you. There are an endless number of pumpkin varieties- some edible, some just for decoration, some for both, some hybrid, some heirloom, some with smooth skin, some with bumpy skin, and so on and so forth. Today, I want to discuss some of my favorite dual-purpose heirloom pumpkin varieties.

What is a “Dual-Purpose” Pumpkin?

I am using the term dual-purpose for pumpkins in the same way that I use it for chickens. When a chicken is dual-purpose, that means that it is used for two purposes: meat & eggs. When a pumpkin is dual-purpose it is used for both decorating and for cooking yummy treats.

This is important for homesteaders- like me- who don’t have a ton of space but still need to get a ton of use out of each plant in the garden. 

Some heirloom pumpkins (like the giant varieties- Big Max & Dill’s Atlantic Giants) are fun for displays and competitions, but they aren’t very good to eat. The pumpkins listed in this article can be used to enhance both your fall decor and your seasonal culinary dishes. 

How to Pick a Pumpkin at the Pumpkin Patch

What are Heirloom Pumpkins?

Heirloom pumpkin varieties are known for their many unique shapes, sizes, and colors. They are “old-time” pumpkins that have been grown and kept “pure” across generations. Many heirloom varieties have thicker walls, more edible flesh or meat, less stringiness, and sweeter (sometimes nutty) flavors. 

heirloom pumpkin varieties in a field with fallen leaves

What are the Benefits of Heirloom Pumpkins over Hybrid Pumpkins?

By planting heirloom pumpkins, you are helping to preserve old pumpkin varieties and promote agricultural genetic diversity. You will also be able to experience unique flavors, textures, colors, and shapes that you wouldn’t find in hybrid pumpkins. 

My top reason for choosing to grow heirloom pumpkins is the ability to save the seeds for growing more pumpkins season after season. Seed saving is a sustainable practice that is very important to homesteaders who want to reduce their dependence on outside sources. 

Hybrid pumpkin seeds aren’t good to save because they will not produce offspring true to the parent’s characteristics. Oftentimes, they will not produce at all. Whereas, heirloom pumpkin seeds will produce offspring with the same characteristics as the parent plant and produce more seeds to save for the next season. 

The Best Dual-Purpose Heirloom Pumpkins

Orange Heirloom Pumpkin Varieties

When I think of heirloom pumpkins, my mind goes straight to the varieties that have blue, green, pale orange, and matte colors, however, there are several classic orange heirloom varieties as well. 

1.Sugar Pumpkins

The Small Sugar / Sugar Pie Pumpkin / New England Pie Pumpkin is often touted as the ultimate pie pumpkin. The 10” pumpkins have sweet flesh that can be used to make delicious pumpkin pies, soups, pumpkin pancakes, muffins, etc. They can also be used to make small jack-o-lanterns. 

Small sugar pumpkin on table
small sugar pumpkin cut in half

Shelf Life: 2-3 months

Buy Sugar Pumpkin Seeds from Survival Seeds

2. Connecticut Field

The Connecticut Field pumpkin is a common carving pumpkin that you may see in your local grocery store. This heirloom pumpkin variety- dating all the back to the 1700s- is known for having a classic pumpkin appearance with a sturdy round shape and slightly ribbed skin. Connecticut Field Pumpkins are preferred for carving, but they can also be used for roasting, baking, and cooking.

Connecticut Field pumpkin on table
Connecticut Field pumpkin cut open

Shelf Life: 2-3 months

Buy Connecticut Field Pumpkin Seeds from Sow Right

White Heirloom Pumpkin Varieties

White pumpkins offer a touch of elegance to the typical orange fall display. Some of the white heirloom pumpkin varieties are also delicious to cook with. 

3. Casper Pumpkin

This 8-12”, 10-20 pound white pumpkin variety, also known as ghost pumpkins, are perfect for painting, adding to displays, and for carving jack-o-lanterns that stand out among their orange counterparts. Casper pumpkins also make delicious pies, soups, and roasted pumpkin seeds. 

Shelf Life: 3-6 months

Buy Casper Pumpkin Seeds from Survival Seeds

4. Lumina

These white pumpkins weigh 10-12 pounds at maturity. Lumina pumpkins have smooth white skin that makes for great painting & carving pumpkins. They also have a slightly sweet, tender, bright orange flesh that makes delicious purees, casseroles, pies, soups, and more!

Shelf Life: 3-6 months

Buy Lumina Pumpkin Seeds from Seeds Needs

5. Flat White Boer

This is my favorite white pumpkin variety! It has a wide, flattened, irregular shape, smooth ivory skin, and sweet flesh. Since the Flat White Boer does have such a squat shape, it isn’t the best choice for carving. However, it does make a beautiful & whimsical addition to the front porch display. It’s sweet orange “meat”  also makes a great puree for soups, pies, casseroles, and coffee creamer. The Flat White Boer pumpkin also works well in roasted and grilled pumpkin dishes.  

flat white boer pumpkin
flat white boer pumpkin with other heirloom pumpkins behind it
Flat White boer pumpkin cut open

Shelf Life: 3-6 months

Buy Flat White Boer Pumpkin Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Green & Blue Heirloom Pumpkin Varieties

Green and blue heirloom pumpkin varieties really toss in the “wow” factor to typical fall decor. They bring in cool (sometimes matte) tones that constrast perfectly with orange pumpkins. 

6. Jarrahdale Pumpkins

These pumpkins are named Jarrahdale, Australia. They have a mild sweet & nutty flavor profile and a gorgeous matte blue-grey skin. Jarrahdale pumpkins can add a cool matted look to your display and they are also a wonderful choice for grilling, baking, and roasting. Try putting some roasted Jarrahdale pumpkin on top of a harvest salad or toss with pecans and cranberries for a yummy side dish!

Jarrahdale pumpkin
Jarrahdale pumpkin cut open

Shelf Life: 6-12 months

Buy Jarrahdale Pumpkin Seeds from Sow Right Seeds

7. Marina di Chioggia pumpkin

This Italian heirloom pumpkin boasts a deep green bumpy skin that stands out among all other pumpkin varieties. Use the Maina di Chioggia to add an earthy touch to your pumpkin display. The dense flesh of this variety is perfect for making pies and pasta fillings as well as many other savory & sweet pumpkin dishes.

Shelf Life: 6-12 months

Buy Marina di Chioggia Pumpkin Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

8. Triamble Pumpkin

The Triamble pumpkin can add a fun bit of diversity to your front porch this fall with its pale blue-green color and three distinct lobes. This variety produces 8-10 pound pumpkins that are beautiful in a display as delicious in the kitchen. Triamble pumpkins have dense flesh and a small seed cavity so you get more bang for your buck when making purees, pies, pumpkin pasta sauce, muffins, pumpkin bread, and more!

Shelf Life: up to 2 years

Buy Triamble Pumpkin Seeds at Hoss Tools

Flattened Heirloom Pumpkin Varieties

9. Cinderella Pumpkins (Rouge Vif d’Étampes) 

The Cinderella pumpkin is a vibrant orange pumpkin that is deeply ribbed and has a flattened shape as if it was smushed down from the top. The rich color & unique shape of these pumpkins will add an enchanting touch to your fall display. Cinderella pumpkins are also great in the kitchen! Roast them, scoop out the flesh, and make a sweet puree for pies, soups, casseroles, stews, and more! If you don’t want to make a puree, simply roast the pumpkins, drizzle the flesh with honey or maple syrup, and enjoy!

Cinderella Pumpkin
Cinderella pumpkin cut open

Shelf Life: 6-10 months

Buy Cinderella Pumpkin Seeds from Eden Brothers

10. Musquee De Provence (Fairytale) Pumpkins

This is by far my FAVORITE pumpkin variety. Musquee de Provence pumpkins, also known as Fairytale pumpkins, are large, heavy, gorgeous gourds! They are a matte red/brown that brings a rustic flare to seasonal decor. Musquee De Provence pumpkins have deep ribs (or lobes) that make it stand out beautifully in the crowd. 

When cutting this pumpkin open, you will find a thick layer of orange flesh that is perfect for making purees (it will make a lot so think about freezing some), canned pumpkin, pumpkin bread, pumpkin alfredo, pumpkin pie, you name it!

Fairytale Pumpkins are often used in conversation interchangeably with Cinderella pumpkins, but they are different varieties altogether. Cinderella pumpkins are a bright reddish-orange while the Fairytale pumpkin variety has a much more rustic, matted, reddish-brown color. They also tend to be larger than Cinderella pumpkins. 

Fairytale Pumpkin
Fairytale Pumpkin top view
Fairytale Pumpkin cut open

Shelf Life: 9-12 months

Buy Fairytale Pumpkin Seeds from Survival Garden Seeds

11. Long Island Cheese Pumpkins

This pumpkin got its name due to its pale color and squat shape resembling a wheel of cheese. The Long Island Cheese Pumpkin is a beautiful option for your decor lineup if you enjoy muted earthy tones like I do!

Long Island Cheese Pumpkins have a dense deep orange flesh that is great for cooking, roasting, and baking. Try making pumpkin bread, pumpkin alfredo, pumpkin muffins, or even a pumpkin stew with this variety!

Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
Long island cheese pumpkin cut open

Shelf Life: 3-6 months

Buy Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Seeds from Baker Creek Seeds

Warty Heirloom Pumpkin Varieties

Warty pumpkins are exactly what they sound like… pumpkins that are covered in warty-looking bumps. These pumpkins add a bit of intrigue and diversity to fall decorations.

12. Galeux d’Eysines

Also known as Peanut Pumpkins, the Galeux d’Eysines is a French heirloom variety with a unique appearance. Galeux d’Eysines pumpkins have light salmon-colored skin covered in large ivory-colored warts. The warts resemble the shape of a peanut, hence the name “peanut pumpkin”. Add this pumpkin variety to your fall display to add a touch of texture and charm.

When this pumpkin is cut open, you will discover a deep orange flesh that is smooth and sweet, perfect for baking. You can enjoy pies, bread, soups, stews, and any other pumpkin-centered recipe with Galeux d’Eysines pumpkins.

Shelf Life: 3-6 months

Buy Galeux d’Eysines Pumpkin Seeds from Sow Right Seeds

13. Black Futsu

The Black Futsu pumpkin is an interesting variety. It is a smaller pumpkin (technically a winter squash) that only grows to be about 3-5 pounds at maturity. Pumpkins in this variety are deeply ribbed, covered in bumps, and have a skin color that ranges from green-black to buff orange. The little warty pumpkins are a great addition to seasonal decorations and they also make wonderful roasting pumpkins- the skin is even edible on these guys!

Black Futsu Squash

Shelf Life: 4-5  months

Buy Black Futsu Pumpkin Seeds from Johnny’s Seeds

14. Red Warty Thing

What’s in a name? Well, in this case, everything! This pumpkin is a large, red, warty thing just as the name suggests. It can grow up to 20 pounds at maturity. If you want a pumpkin that will really make a statement, you can’t go wrong with this one!

Red Warty Thing pumpkins are also excellent for eating! The flesh is sweet & creamy making it a great choice for any of your favorite pumpkin recipes.

Shelf Life: 6 months

Buy Red Warty Thing Pumpkin Seeds from Botanical Interests

Mini Heirloom Pumpkin Varieties

Mini pumpkins are such a fun addition to indoor & outdoor fall spreads! If you want a fun pumpkin for your children to grow, you will not regret choosing one of these little varieties! 

Let’s finish this post out with a few heirloom mini pumpkins that can be used for decorations, crafts, cooking, AND seed saving.

15. Jack-Be-Little

Jack-Be-Little pumpkins are tiny pumpkins with smooth bright orange skin. They can be painted, added to centerpieces, or placed on the front porch with the larger pumpkin varieties. You can also cut the top off, scoop out the insides, and add a tealight candle for a mini luminary. 

These pumpkins may be small, but they are tasty! Roast mini pumpkins for personal-sized pumpkin snacks or serve as a side dish to a seasonal meal. Jack-Be Little pumpkins can also be stuffed & baked or pureed to use in desserts, soups, and casseroles (although you will need a lot of them to make enough puree).

jack be little mini pumpkin

Shelf Life: up to 12 months

Buy Jack-Be-Little Pumpkin Seeds from Seeds Needs

16. Baby Boo

How cute is that name? Baby Boo pumpkins are tiny white pumpkins that add charm and elegance to indoor & outdoor fall decorative spreads. The pure white skin of this pumpkin contrasts beautifully with the deep orange and even the muted earthy tones of the other pumpkin varieties that you may already have. The little pumpkins can also be used for painting.

Baby Boo mini pumpkins are also edible! You can roast them for individual appetizers or make fun side dishes. This pumpkin could even be scooped out and used as a small serving bowl.

Shelf Life: 6-12 months

Buy Baby Boo Seeds from Seeds Needs

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