Five or six years ago, I happened upon a pumpkin in the bin at a Whole Foods in Cambridge, MA, that turned out to be substantially different from the others I've had. It was, I think, about eight pounds. Its skin was milky white with very faint, thin green veins, and its flesh had a distinct reddish tone to its orange color, very different from the usual pale or medium orange of a pie pumpkin. After baking and pureeing it, the resulting mash was unusually dark and dense and the pie I made out of it was fantastically rich and flavorful.

I have no idea what kind of pumpkin this was. I suspect that the store was using it only for decoration, or to be sold as a decorative pumpkin, because it was in no way advertised as a pie pumpkin (it was way better than any pie pumpkin I've had) and the employees weren't even sure how to ring it up. Other white pumpkins I've bought that I thought were the same turned out to be no different from similar-looking orange pumpkins.

Was I the lucky beneficiary of a unique gourd or is there a particular pumpkin species or cultivar that displays these properties, and if the latter, what is it and where can I get more?

  • Do any of the white varieties here look particularly like what you recall? tiptopwebsite.com/websites/…
    – logophobe
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 17:56
  • @logophobe It's definitely not the Lumina, based on what I see of its insides. It's also not the One to Many, which is way too veiny. It has some exterior resemblance to the Full Moon, but that's described as being enormous. I can't rule out the Cotton Candy but they don't say anything about its qualities as food. It's the right size and color, at least, minus the veins (which perhaps you can't see, or depend on ripeness).
    – Ryan Reich
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 17:59
  • Take a look here too:
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 18:03
  • The properties of the mash (such as density) and the rich taste depend on growing conditions more than on cultivars. The coloring is specific to the cultivar, but this isn't going to help you much.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 21:33
  • There are some varients of delicata squash that look like what you describe ... I'm not sure if they get up to that size.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 20:33

1 Answer 1


Based on your description and some of the feedback from comments, I think the most likely candidates for your mystery gourd are white pumpkins of the Cotton Candy or Valenciano varieties, possibly also Lumina or Silver Moon (though those tend to be flatter and larger than you describe). Here's a link with some further comparative description.

The dark color of the flesh that you describe was more likely a product of the growing season than anything else, though you might have some luck asking farmers at local pumpkin patches what specifically could cause that result. How you cooked the mash could very well have contributed too. Here's an excellent post from the community blog with instructions for producing quality, richly-flavored "orange goo".

Should you be completely unable to find a similar specimen, you may need to consider substitution. Possibly the best one I can think of is butternut squash. This has a very rich flavor, quite similar to pumpkin, and it gets richer as it ages. Look for ones with dark skin - the darker the outside, the darker and sweeter the inside will be as well.

  • This sounds like a summary of the most reasonable conclusions from the discussion. I certainly have tried butternut squash and it actually is very good (I tend to prefer it to pumpkins, actually), though not as spectacular as that one pumpkin. Thanks!
    – Ryan Reich
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 3:00

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