Carve or eat – your pumpkin questions answered

All pumpkins can be consumed or carved, but there are a few varieties that are more suitable for your family’s fall needs.


Sugar Pie Pumpkins are most sought after for cooking. Sweet, fine flesh and excellent flavor make them ideal for baking pumpkin pies.

Traditionally bred, heirloom pumpkins are the best for eating! These are my top choices:

  • Jarrahdale: Sweet, dry and dense, they are the most universal for cooking with a high pulp yield. Great for pastas or gnocchi.
  • Fairytale, Cinderella: Both native to France and highly sought after for their sweet flavor. Best used in desserts.
  • Dickenson Field: These are the mostly used for commercial purposes for Libby here in Illinois. They’re a special pie pumpkin capable of large growth with a sweet, creamy flesh.


While you can use a carving pumpkin for cooking, they’re very stringy, watery and tasteless compared to the varieties listed above. When you’re looking for the best pumpkins to carve, you want the Jack-o-lantern style. Here are a few tips for picking the perfect pumpkin to carve:

  • Look for a firm, sturdy handle
  • Check for any soft spots or bruising
  • Look for a deep orange in color with a firm, healthy rind
  • The heavier the pumpkin, the denser the wall. Ideally, you do not want a super dense pumpkin because it will be more difficult to carve

I hope this helps guide you through your local pumpkin patch this year. Happy pumpkin season!


Sugar Grove Pumpkin Farm