Pumpkins of all shapes and sizes are in stores, decorating our outdoors, and being carved by children of all ages during the fall months. There are pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere! What are pumpkins and why are they superfoods, not just activities and decorations?
Pumpkins Are a Type of Fruit
Definitely one of the more surprising facts about pumpkins is that they are fruit, not vegetables. Many people consider pumpkins to be a vegetable, along with squash and other gourds, but it is in fact a fruit. Fruits are typically defined by being planted with seeds, which pumpkins definitely have. Therefore, while a part of the gourd family, they are a type of fruit. This is also a warm-weather crop, similar to other types of winter squash, which is why it is available to be harvested in the fall season.
There Are a Wide Range of Colors and Styles
Another fun fact about pumpkins is that there are many different colors, sizes, and even shapes. When people think of pumpkins, they often envision round or oval bright orange pumpkins, but this is only one of many varieties. Depending on where you live and what is available, you might find pumpkins in red, yellow, white, or even multi-colored varieties. Round and oval are common, but some are pear shaped, taller or shorter. There are mini pumpkins, large ones, and every size in between. Naturally, some pumpkins re better for carving, others are good for eating, and some of the more unique ones are best for decorating.
Pumpkins Are Mostly Water
Pumpkins are about 90 percent water. This is partly why they are so low in fat, similar to other foods with high water content – cucumbers, lettuce, and celery. Pumpkins also contain a long list of nutrients, including vitamin A, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and many more minerals. This makes them a fall superfood!
More Facts About Pumpkins
Here are a few more things you might not know about pumpkins:
- The flowers that grow around pumpkins are completely edible, as well as the skin.
- Pumpkins were once used for pie crust, instead of filling like it is used now.
- Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for herbal medicine as well as food.
- Pumpkins grow on all continents, with the exception of Antarctica.
Ideas for Using this Superfood
When fresh pumpkins are available, there are many options that are good for cooking. This article lists the 10 best; they include Baby Bear, Sugar and Butterkin, which is a cross between a butternut squash and a pumpkin. Find more information and photos so it is easy to look for what you want: https://www.10best.com/interests/food-culture/what-types-of-pumpkins-cook-eat/ Mini-pumpkins are also good for cooking; this article includes sweet and savory suggestions. https://www.thekitchn.com/what-to-do-with-all-those-mini-69921
Canned pumpkin provides the same superfood nutrition during the parts of the year when fresh pumpkins are unavailable. And even in the fall, it’s easier to make a wonderful batch of Pumpkin Butter in your crockpot/slow cooker with the canned version. Here’s a simple recipe: Slow Cooker Pumpkin Butter Imagine the aroma in your kitchen when it is cooking!!
To explore uses of pumpkin in everything from breakfast dishes to appetizers to main dishes and more, check out this cookbook. Pumpkin by Taste of Home
I’m Carol Brusegar, author, photographer and curator of information. My focus is on gathering and writing on topics that enhance all our lives – regardless of our age. Topics include health and wellness, personal development, innovation and creativity, and a variety of helpful, practical tools and practices. I have a special interest in helping people over 50 years of age to create their 3rd Age – the next stage of their lives – to be the best it can be.