Pumpkin & Squash (Potiron & Courges)

Discover the various kinds of pumpkins in France, how to choose and prepare them, and links to healthy French pumpkin or squash recipes.

various pumpkins at the French market

Pumpkin Season


High season: October – December; Those harvested during this time can last all winter.

Random Facts about Pumpkins in France

  • From the winter squash family, pumpkins are either round or ribbed. Their pulp is yellow or orange with either yellow, orange or green thick skins. Skins are normally discarded but potimarron (chestnut or Hokkaido Red Kuri squash) skin is edible);
  • The pulp, central seeds and strands removed, is eaten cooked mainly in soups, gratins, tarts and as a purée (see recipes below);
  • Pumpkins and squash date back to c. 6000BC from Mexico but were not introduced into Europe until the 16th Century by the Portuguese. Before this time, squash didn’t have different varieties until 1860 when botanist, Charles Naudin established 20 varieties;
  • Although considered a vegetable, botanically speaking, squashes are fruits as they have seeds. Their taste is naturally sweet, so add sugar with care – especially for butternut squash, which is sweeter than other varieties;
  • According to Aprifel, pumpkins or squash are healthy: high in fibre, potassium, vitamin B5 and provitamin A betacarotene;
  • Mini pumpkins, known as Jack-be-Little are also known as Pomarine in France, although they originated in Colorado, USA.
  • How to choose best pumpkins or squash: the harder the skin the better.  If a pumpkin is soft in any way, avoid it! Also choose still with the stalk (pédoncule) still intact, as they will last much longer in a cool, dark place;
  • Squash or pumpkins are delicious in savoury dishes paired with sage, mushrooms, apple, chicken or pork (bacon), walnuts and chestnuts. Try this healthy and spicy Pumpkin, Leek & Ginger Soup.

Recipes with Pumpkins/Squash

Paris Food Guide

From the kitchen