The Absolute Best Type Of Pumpkin For Roasting

Fall is a time for finally grabbing your favorite warm pajamas from the bottom of your dresser drawer, simmering tasty warming drinks such as mulled cider, and filling your home with winter squashes and pumpkins — both the kinds that are there for decoration and the types you plan to eat. Winter squash varieties, which range from well-known acorn and butternut to lesser-known banana and buttercup, tend to have dense, sweet flesh, and come in a stunning array of colors, from pale gray-blue to bright orange (via Taste of Home). The fruit nicely complements a range of other fall flavors, from pomegranate seeds to wild rice.

As tasty as pumpkins can be, a lot of us are guilty of falling into ruts when we prepare them. Perhaps we default to roasting squash instead of exploring steaming, sautéing, and baking, or maybe we choose butternuts and acorns over and over again instead of branching out into delicatas and Hubbards. If you're guilty of the latter, we encourage you to explore the wide, wonderful world of pumpkins — and you might want to start with the delicious Long Island cheese pumpkin.

A sweet, dense, and creamy pumpkin option

If you love roasting winter squashes but haven't ventured beyond standard varieties such as butternut, you're going to want to get your hands on a Long Island cheese pumpkin. According to Food & Wine, these round, squat pumpkins sport a tan skin and a bright orange flesh that, when sliced into, looks like a wedge of cheese with its rind. They don't taste anything like cheese, however, boasting a sweet, dense, and creamy interior that the outlet notes is like a cross between a sweet potato and a butternut squash.

Minnetonka Orchards explains that the Long Island cheese pumpkin was first cultivated in the Northeast. One of the first squashes to be domesticated, it was bred from Native American cultivars, and was the most commercially successful squash throughout the 1800s. But by the late 1900s, cheese pumpkins had almost totally disappeared from the American diet, until 2012, when a group of seed savers launched the Long Island Regional Seed Consortium to resurrect the squash. Since that year, other groups dedicated to traditional agriculture have also helped sow and sell Long Island cheese pumpkins.

Minnetonka Orchards notes that the pumpkin is a great candidate for purées and soups, while Food & Wine suggests creating a dramatic entrée by scooping out the squash's seeds and filling it with curried coconut rice. Or you can simply slice it, toss it in some oil, and roast it until tender and sweet.