Practicing Creativity

Six Different Varieties of Pumpkins Sold in France

Since Halloween isn't traditionally celebrated in France (and since we're in confinement again as of yesterday, it certainly won't be this year), I thought I'd observe the day by introducing you to something that truly is French...our pumpkins! You might think a pumpkin is a pumpkin is a pumpkin the world over, but not so. Pumpkins sold in France are entirely different varieties from those sold in the States. During my veggie market shopping trip this week, I snapped a few photos of the pumpkins on offer. Here are six different varieties of pumpkins sold in France:

1. This squat one that looks like someone stepped on it, is called a courge. You can generally refer to all pumpkins as courge – like Americans do squash – but this is truly a courge. It's chopped up and boiled and eaten as a puree, or gratin, almost as you use potatoes. As a rule, French people do NOT eat pumpkin sweet.

2. This little one is called a potimarron. If you're making a soup, this is the one you want (it's the one I buy most often). Its skin is not as hard as a courge and you needn't peel it before cooking. It has more flavor than a courge, with just a hint of sweetness.

3. Okay, I said French and this pumpkin is Italian, but like so many things from Italy, this beauty is too lovely to pass by. It's a courge bernettine. Don't be fooled by it's elegant exterior, inside it's orange and looks just like a French courge. It's also used in the same way. It's €0.31 more a kilo, which I'm not sure it's gustatory qualities merit.

4. This is another Italian, a courge délica moretti. Although green on the exterior, it is just like a traditional pumpkin inside – orange. Its uses are the same as a courge.

5. This little cutie is called a pâtisson. You might see it stuffed like a bell pepper with ground beef or rice, or diced and steamed with a little butter and chives, even puréed like mashed potatoes.

6. Last, and yes, least as it pertains to size, these little mini-pumpkins are called pomarin, but I have also seen them referred to as potiron mini jack or jack-be-little. These are most often served stuffed and I have seen them prepared with all sorts of different fillings – chestnuts, cheese, meat – you name it.

There is a variety of pumpkin called poitron (which my market didn't have this day) and also citrouille (or this one either). Both of these varieties would be more familiar looking to Americans, especially the citrouille. The poitron is a bit flatter, the citrouille a bit rounder. Neither of these types are my favorites  for cooking. If you ask your phone, 'What is pumpkin in French?' it will answer, 'Citrouille', but now you know that that's not really true.

Another nice plus to purchasing your pumpkins in France, if you only require a little for your recipe, you can buy them already cut up.

And there you have it...French pumpkins in honor of Halloween!


  1. Happy Halloween! Surprisingly, we still had a lot of trick-or-treaters this year. Thanks for sharing the French pumpkins. Way different than all the huge ones you see here.

  2. I've said it before and I know I'll say it again...I love these posts, Shani. I find them so very interesting! And, I must say, your produce is much more varied than we have here....or maybe I'm just sticking too closely to what I "know" and not venturing outside my comfort zone even to look. (: I will say, your courge délica moretti looks very much like our buttercup squash. It is very maybe it's the same?? I think stuffed pâtisson sounds absolute scrumptious! Well, there you've made me hungry! (:

  3. Il y a pour tous les goûts, elles sont toutes belles! Certaines je n'ai jamais vu dans le commerce ou ailleurs. Et tu as raison, ici les gens n'ont pas l'habitude de manger le potimarron ou citrouilles en pâtisserie... Au Venezuela ma mère nous faisait des flans, gâteaux et milkshakes... Une délice!!! :P


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