All pumpkins are actually winter squashes, but not all winter squashes are pumpkins. As well as standard traditional pumpkins, typically orange and used for carving at Halloween, you’ll find fruits in steely blue and chartreuse green. Some cultivars have blotched skin, while others are elegantly ribbed. But it’s not all about looks: the best winter squashes are aromatic, with a superb flavour. They’re straightforward to grow and easy to store, keeping the kitchen well-stocked through autumn and winter.
Pick your varieties cleverly and you can grow squashes wherever you live. Early-fruiting types suit northerly gardens; if space is at a premium, train a scrambling variety up an archway. Or grow a baby-fruited squash in a large pot.
Discover seven great pumpkin and winter squash varieties, below.
‘Sweet Dumpling’ bears dozens of small fruits, just right for baking whole. Each is prettily ribbed in green: inside you’ll find orange flesh with a good flavour.
‘Crown Prince’ is one of the best squashes for storing – it keeps for months. The bright orange flesh tastes a little like sweet potatoes, and has a good, dense texture.
‘Jack o’ Lantern’
This is your go-to pumpkin for Hallowe’en, producing classic round fruits in brilliant orange that are made for carving and sweet to eat, too.
A great all-rounder producing dozens of small fruits with firm, tasty orange flesh that’s at its best drizzled with olive oil then slow-roasted.
This should enthral the kids with its ghoulish, warty skin. Behind the lumps and bumps, the flesh is dense and yellow, perfect for pumpkin pies.
Prized for its intense flavour. There are several variations, but all are compact so won’t swamp smaller gardens with the small, easy-to-peel fruit.
Sometimes called red onion squash, this variety scrambles over trellis and is early to ripen. The real draw, though, is its smoky, chestnutty flavour.