Fairytale pumpkin

What are Fairytale Pumpkins, and what makes them different from other pumpkin types?

The Fairytale pumpkin, also known as Musquée de Provence, is a medium-large tan-colored French heirloom pumpkin cultivar. These pumpkins have deep ribs all around the pumpkin, giving them a very full appearance. Fairytale Pumpkins are great for baking because of the fine-grained orange flesh of the pumpkin, and also make for festive autumn decor.

Read on to learn all about Fairytale pumpkins!

Fairytale Pumpkins (Musquée de Provence) turning from green to beige

Fairytale pumpkins: The basics

Fairytale pumpkin is called Musquée de Provence in French. In Spanish, it is referred to as Calabaza de Castilla (Castilla Squash). This is a pumpkin beloved around the world and has been grown in the USA for over a hundred years.

Fairytale pumpkins have a gorgeous shape to them, giving them the “fairytale” name. These pumpkins are large and wide, with deep ribs going all around the pumpkin, giving it a very full and romantic appearance. For those of you who love to decorate for different holidays, these are the pumpkins for you!

These pumpkins are also fantastic cooking pumpkins and can be roasted or stewed to make delicious pumpkin-based recipes. They do not have a bright, gaudy yellow-orange color. Instead, they are a deep orange with a slight tint of brown, which can nicely complement muted Halloween and autumn decor.

Inside fairytale pumpkin

Fairytale/Musquee de Provence: Beautiful, pronounced divots in its burnished, ochre skin. From the south of France, this large pumpkin is often found already sliced into wedges for cooking at French markets, though can be purchased whole.”

Purely Pumpkin: More Than 100 Seasonal Recipes to Share, Savor, and Warm Your Kitchen, by Allison Day

Musquee de Provence: An absolute favorite. Color of milk chocolate and just as addictive. Corresponds to the Potiron Bronze de Montlhery cited in Vilmorin (1890).”

The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower’s Guide to Pumpkins, Squash, and Gourds, By Amy Goldman
Box of mini fairytale pumpkins

How to grow your own Fairytale pumpkins (Musquée de Provence)?

Begin by purchasing your Fairytale pumpkin Seeds in the winter or early spring. This is a very popular heirloom variety, and the seeds often sell out quickly. Most pumpkin seed growers only collect seeds once per year (each fall), so you want to order your seeds early to avoid disappointment.

Fairytale Pumpkins should be started as seedlings indoors in cold climates, but do grow best when direct-seeded out into the garden soil. Generally, they need to be planted from late May to early June to develop fully. This will ensure they are ripe and ready to be used in the fall and autumn months.

Make sure you have enough room for full-grown Fairytale Pumpkins in your yard. They grow to be an average weight of 15-20lbs, so the fruits and the long vines do take up quite a bit of space.

After they are planted, ensure they receive proper sunlight and daily water throughout the summer as they grow and mature. If you are worried about the soil, you can fertilize the soil before planting the seedlings. When these pumpkins are ready to harvest, the vine will begin to wither and die. Once the stem becomes dry, you can clip the pumpkin off the vine and use it for food or decoration.

History of Fairytale pumpkins

Fairytale Pumpkins are a common and popular type of pumpkin in France. They are known as Musque De Provence squash. Many farms in France, specifically the south, grow and sell Fairytale Pumpkins. Fairytales are sold whole but can exceed 20 lbs, which makes them easier to purchase by the wedge if you are using them for cooking or baking.

If you are ever in France and decide to visit a farm or a farmer’s market that sells Fairytale Pumpkins, you will most likely see them sold by the piece for the convenience of the customer. The wedges sold by farmers are clean-cut, with all the seeds and tissue removed. Finally, they are wrapped in plastic to stay protected until they are sold at a market.

While Fairytale Pumpkins are most popular in France, they actually originated from a pumpkin species in Central and South America. Spanish explorers brought it back to Europe between the 15th and 16th centuries. During the 19th century, Fairytale Pumpkins were developed in Europe. The Provence region which borders Italy was the origin of the Fairytale Pumpkin. Fairytale Pumpkins were brought to America in 1899 and sold as seeds in Chicago.

Cooking with Fairytale pumpkin

Aside from the gorgeous appearance of the Fairytale Pumpkin, the bright orange fruit on the inside is perfect for baking. The flesh of a Fairytale Pumpkin is firm, thick, and filled with cream-colored seeds. Fairytale Pumpkins can be cooked to release a spicy scent and a sweet, mild flavor. The cooked flesh of a Fairytale Pumpkin is creamy, smooth, and tender.

As the seasons change and it starts to become colder outside, baking, especially with pumpkin, is a must. If you are looking for the perfect pumpkin type for all of your autumn baking needs, you need to look no further than the Fairytale Pumpkin.

Mini fairytale pumpkin up close

Fairytale Pumpkins can be used both in cooked and raw recipes. They are great for baking, roasting, sautéing, and boiling. Flesh from a Fairytale Pumpkin can be used in salads, as a garnish, or even eaten alone as a snack.

When thinking of how to use a Fairytale Pumpkin in the kitchen refer to the chart below.

Cooking With Fairytale PumpkinBaking With Fairytale PumpkinFoods To Pair With Fairytale Pumpkin
SoupPieRed Bell Peppers
Creamy SaucesMuffinsOnion
CasserolesCakesBrown Rice
PastaTartsGround Beef
Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a passionate gardener and well-acclaimed authority in the world of horticulture. As a certified Master Gardener and Permaculture Garden Designer with over a decade of hands-on experience, she has honed her skills to cultivate a deeper understanding of the natural world around us. Beyond her gardening prowess, Mary Jane holds a distinct edge as a Professional Engineer, an expertise that often intertwines with her gardening methodologies, bringing a unique perspective to her readers.

She is the proud founder of the renowned gardening website, Home for the Harvest, a platform dedicated to helping fellow gardeners, both novice and experienced, find their green thumbs. Her gardening expertise hasn't gone unnoticed; she's been spotlighted as a go-to gardening expert by notable publications like Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Mother Earth News, Real Simple, and the National Garden Bureau.

Delving deep into specific fields of study within horticulture, Mary Jane has an extensive knowledge base on sustainable gardening practices (including permaculture), soil science, and selecting cultivars well-suited to home gardeners. Her passion isn't just limited to plants; she's a staunch advocate for holistic, eco-friendly gardening techniques that benefit both flora and fauna.

Currently residing in the picturesque Okanagan Valley, Mary Jane cherishes the time she spends with her family amidst nature, always exploring, learning, and growing both as a gardener and as an individual.

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