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Just What Is This Thing Called a Pumpkin?

Have you ever been to a pumpkin patch? They look so pretty lying on the brushy undergrowth of the pumpkin patch floor. Pumpkins are actually fruits that grow on vines that run along the ground. They can sometimes be scary when they are carved, but when it comes to pumpkin desserts they make our taste buds go wild. What exactly is a pumpkin?

Just What Is This Thing Called a Pumpkin?

You have to admit that a pumpkin is a strange looking fruit. Yet there are fruits out there that are equally as strange looking as the pumpkin is. Lets reveal a secret about this mysterious orange thing we know as a pumpkin.

A pumpkin is actually a gourd-type of squash. A gourd has a very unique shape. Gourds were sometimes hollowed out and filled with beads to make noisemakers at school. Gourds are usually greenish yellow or orange and green in color.

Of course, the pumpkin is a rather large gourd. They can be used for more than creating a racket. The large dried shell of a gourd can be used for creating things such as cups, bowls and even lamps. The pumpkin’s outer rind is not very sturdy but it sure comes in handy for holding candles during a Halloween party. The outer rind of the pumpkin also works well for holding foods, such as soups, at the dinner table.

The zucchini is a more familiar type of squash. Did you know that a pumpkin can even be sliced like zucchini and stir fried? Even though pumpkins are bigger and more round than other squash they can still be used in similar ways. After the pumpkin has been cut from the vine it will keep for months as long as it is set on a raised surface in a cool dark place.

A pumpkin stem looks similar to that of a zucchini or yellow squash. The only difference however, is that the pumpkin’s stem is not as flexible and it is pricklier compared to the ordinary squash. If it is possible do not pick up the pumpkin by its stem as this could damage the pumpkin.

The word pumpkin actually means "large melon." You can eat a pumpkin raw or if you prefer, cooked, the choice is yours. The majority of the nutrients will be received if the pumpkin is eaten raw. Most people don't consider the pumpkin a fruit, but one of the criteria for something to be considered a fruit is the fact that seeds are present. Being that the pumpkin is full of seeds it is correctly classified as a fruit.

The pumpkin contains seeds that can be eaten roasted or as a decorative garnish in other dishes. It may also surprise you that pumpkins are not always orange. Recently I have come across an albino pumpkin and my first thought was that it was painted. To my surprise I found that this was not the case at all. Albino pumpkins are naturally white in color.

It may even surprise you that a pumpkin can also appear red, purple or green in color. What would Halloween be like with red or purple pumpkins everywhere? There are plenty of orange ones around so things aren't bound to change any time soon.

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