What is a Pumpkin?

The Editors at Food Fanatic | Food Fanatic
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We all know it's what you use to make a jack o'lantern at Halloween - and it also makes a wonderful pie! - but what IS a pumpkin exactly? Find out here!

The answer to the question "what is a pumpkin" is going to surprise you. After all, the one thing you thought you knew about pumpkins is that they are a type of vegetable, right?

Well no, actually, they're not! Believe it or not, a pumpkin is a fruit!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Photo

Now, we're not saying it will go down too well in a fruit cocktail - and as far as we know, no one's ever tried to use it in a fruit salad either! 

But because of the way it grows - from the flowers of a plant - it's considered a fruit (botanically speaking, at least). Of course, pumpkin isn't the only unusual 'fruit' around - tomatoes have been the topic of debate for years! 

But the true identity of the pumpkin is known by very few. (And guess what? Beans, cucumbers, peppers and olives are all fruits too!).

Pumpkin Flan Picture

The classification of pumpkin as a squash is probably something you're more familiar with. And you can probably think of lots of different types of squashes - there's the spaghetti squash, zucchini, acorn squash and those pretty little ornamental gourds that look so great on a fall centerpiece.

So here's another interesting fact - ALL of those squashes (plus pumpkins big and small) are different cultivars of a species called Cucurbita pepo. They're just one big squash family!

Pumpkin Coffee Cake Image

Ways to use pumpkin

The great thing about pumpkin is that it lends itself well to both savory and sweet dishes.

It can be used to make fantastic sauces for pasta, for example - try this Creamy Pumpkin Tortellini Recipe to see just what we mean!

Pumpkin Protein Bars Pic

It has so much flavor that you don't need to mix it with too many ingredients to make an amazing soup - case in point is this 3-Ingredient Pumpkin Soup. Super simple and so nutritious!

Following a paleo diet? Then why not try these Paleo Pumpkin Waffles, which make a sweet and delicious breakfast treat. And while we're on the subject of sweet treats - Pumpkin Tiramisu anyone?

If you love brioche - and think there's no way to improve on a standard brioche recipe - then we've got news for you! Adding pumpkin takes it to a whole new level - try our Pumpkin Brioche recipe and see!

You can even use it to making amazing drinks - this Pumpkin Lassi is cool and refreshing.

Pumpkin Seeds Pic

And when you're done creating all these wonderful dishes, don't overlook the pumpkin seeds! They're packed with nutrients and tasty too - you just need to remove them, wash and dry them, add your favorite seasoning and roast them. A quick and easy snack that ensures you make the very most of your pumpkin!