Pumpkins exist in a wide range of colors. Green pumpkins, specifically, come in multiple shades of green from dark green to light green, while some can be multicolored, like the ‘Speckled Hound’.
They can be genetically green, or artificial factors like harvesting methods can influence the color. Some naturally green pumpkins include ‘Kabocha’, ‘Marina di Chioggia’, ‘Bonbon’, and ‘Acorn’.
Green pumpkins are sought after for both pumpkin décor, solely because they add a nice contrast to the more typical and monotonous orange fruits and for various cooking specialties.
Why Are They Green?
Although some might argue that green pumpkins are unripe, some are naturally green, even when fully mature and ripe. However, if your pumpkins are supposed to turn color to orange when ripe, it is fine for them to stay green up to the end of the harvest season.
If they haven’t turned orange by then, there could be a problem. Maybe you planted your seeds late, hoping for a late harvest, and cold weather sets in before your pumpkins are ready for harvesting.
If extremely cold weather sets in and frost starts appearing on your green pumpkin, you might have to cut the fruit from the vine to keep it from rotting.
Do Green Pumpkins Stay Green?
Genetically green pumpkins will stay green even after ripening. However, if your pumpkin is supposed to turn orange and the harvest season is fast approaching a halt, it can be frustrating to watch frost kill the vines before the fruits are fully mature. Even so, you can still get the healthy green pumpkins and help them turn orange in a few steps.
- First, harvest the green pumpkin. The best way to do this is to leave a vine handle at the top, at least 4 in, that will prevent the pumpkin from rotting from the top.
- Wash your green pumpkin. Give your green pumpkins a gentle wash or wipe with a diluted bleach solution to wash off any mud or dirt from the rind to avoid mold and rot.
- Place it in a warm, dry, and sunny spot. All pumpkins need warmth and sunlight to ripen and a dry place to avoid mold or rot. If the pumpkin is completely green, you will have to rotate it evenly so that every part gets exposed to sunshine, and it can be evenly ripe.
If there are only patches of green, you will have to tilt the green part to face the sunlight for it to ripen and turn orange.
Are Green Pumpkins Edible?
Green pumpkins are edible but the flavor may lack sweetness. The naturally green pumpkins like ‘Kabocha’ maintain their green color to maturity. However, if they are supposed to turn color, the green pumpkin doesn’t have to go to waste.
Try considering it like a fried green tomato—such a delicate taste. You can cook it like that, give it a little more time to ripen up through exposure to sunlight, or you can throw it in a bag of apples. This will help the fruit ripen faster.
5 Types of Green Pumpkins
As mentioned before, all pumpkin fruits start out as green then gradually change color as they ripen. However, some are genetically green, even when the fruit is fully mature and ripened. Which are these green pumpkins?
1. ‘Marina Di Chioggia’ Pumpkin
Also known as Chioggia Sea Pumpkin, the ‘Marina Di Chioggia’ is a medium to large size, dark green Italian heirloom pumpkin. It is native to an Italian coast village of Chioggia, though originally believed to have been brought by sailors from the Latin and South Americas. Depending on planting, pumpkin fruits are available through fall and winter.
They are round and are known for their warty, wrinkly, and almost bubbly rind. They weigh an average of 10-12 pounds. The sugar warts cause the bubbly rind to result from the build-up of extra sugar in the pumpkin’s coat and flesh.
This pumpkin also has a thick, dry, and dense yellow-orange flesh that surrounds a semi-hollow cavity hosting many large flat, cream-colored seeds.
They are sought after for cooking applications like roasting, baking, steaming, and grilling because of their sweet and nutty flavors. Their rind can be removed before or after cooking, depending on the consumer’s preference.
On the other hand, their soft seeds are best for roasting with a bit of olive oil and salt. The pumpkin’s flesh is high in beta-carotene, which is not only a valuable nutrient but is also responsible for the pumpkin’s vibrant coloration.
2. ‘Kabocha’ Pumpkin
Also known as the Japanese Black Pumpkin, this small, dark green ‘Kabocha’ pumpkin is native to Japan. Depending on their sizes, the Kabocha pumpkins range in weight from 3 – 5 pounds. It is distinguished by its coarse, deep green rind that covers a soft and tender reddish-yellow flesh on the inside.
The ‘Kabocha’ is prized and sought after for its sweet and fine-textured flesh full of nutrients and highly versatile. Its flesh is high in beta carotene, and the rind is an excellent source of fiber.
It has a wide range of applications from frying, simmering, baking, steaming, grating, even roasting. The flesh is also high in sugar, and adding it to any dish boosts the sweetness without the addition of any extra sugars. Some might argue that it’s closer both in flavor and texture to sweet potatoes.
3. ‘Speckled Hound’ Pumpkin
This is a small, medium-sized hybrid pumpkin. When ripe, the rind turns orange but is covered with splotches and streaks of dark green. They are eye-catching and quite unique, making them good for display in pumpkin décor. Furthermore, they also have thick flesh best suited for cooking.
When ripe, ‘Speckled Hound’ pumpkins weigh about 3 – 6 pounds and vary in their orange/green coloration from one pumpkin to another.
4. Pepitas Pumpkin
The ‘Pepitas’ pumpkin is a hybrid pumpkin famed for its delicious and nutritious seeds. The term “Pepitas” is Spanish for “naked seed,” and the pumpkin was named so because, unlike the traditional pumpkin varieties, its seeds don’t have tough hulls around them.
When ripe, ‘Pepitas’ pumpkins weigh about 9 – 12 pounds. Their rind is yellow to bright orange at the base and has green stripes beautifully and decoratively running from the base to the top of the fruit.
They are great for both cooking and ornamental purposes. Their seeds, just like the flesh, are high in antioxidants, fiber and have the ability to lower blood sugar levels.
Additionally, their vines are resistant to powdery mildew but demand a lot of space to grow and develop.
5. ‘American Tondo’ Pumpkin
Originally from Italy, this pumpkin is named after the classic American pumpkin. This is a medium-sized pumpkin with a firm, thick, yellow rind, mottled green stripes, and a dark green base. They can be round or oblong in shape with a light beige, rough, and ridged stem.
Their flesh is yellow, moist, and spongy, engulfing a hollow center with a stringy pulp that holds several cream-colored hard seeds.
Depending on when you planted them, ripe ‘American Tondo’ pumpkin fruits are available during fall through winter. When ripe, they weigh 8 – 12 pounds.
These pumpkin fruits are nicely ribbed and highly ornamental, but the flesh is also highly nutritious and good for cooking applications like steaming, roasting, baking, and grilling.
Its rind is too tough for consumption and depending on the consumer’s preference, it should be removed either before or after cooking. This pumpkin is high in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A by the body. Beta-carotene is also responsible for the pumpkin’s vibrant coloration.
When cooked, the flesh turns an orange color and offers a sweet pumpkin flavor. They can be found in farmers’ markets and select stores when the season is right.
Additionally, it pairs well with fresh herbs and spices like sage, parsley, gorgonzola, curry spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, browned butter, raisins, maple syrup, dried cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, and pancetta.
For the most extended lifespan, store in a cool and dry place, and it will last over a month.
Other Green Pumpkins
By no way does the above list exhaust all the green pumpkins. Other green pumpkins are Green-striped Cushaw pumpkins, Tours pumpkins, ‘Jade Knight’ pumpkins, ‘Bonbon’ pumpkins, ‘Shishigatani’ pumpkins, ‘Triamble’ pumpkins, and ‘Thai Kang Kob’ pumpkins.
Green pumpkins are not necessarily unripe pumpkins since some are naturally green even when ripe.
Either way, you should never throw away any green pumpkin, even if you are certain it is supposed to turn color when ripe. Instead, give it a chance to ripen off the vine.
On the other hand, naturally and genetically green pumpkins can either be a solid green or a blend of colors, depending on the type.