As the weather begins to cool and you see leaves on trees change from green to brown, you’re also likely to see pumpkins taking over shops, doorsteps, and farmer’s markets. Whether it’s for carving jack-o-lanterns, baking pumpkin pie or roasting pumpkin seeds, there’s a variety of uses for this orange staple of autumn! But what exactly are pumpkins, anyway? Are they a fruit, vegetable, or something else entirely?
Botanically speaking, fruits are classified as the edible portion of a plant that develops from a flower, and also contains seeds. This includes what we typically think of as fruit such as apples, strawberries, and pears, but also includes foods such as tomatoes and cucumbers!
On the other hand, vegetables are any edible portion of plants, such as leaves, stems, bulbs and roots — think lettuce, asparagus and carrots. By definition, a fruit can be a vegetable, but a vegetable cannot be a fruit.
Pumpkin is a Fruit
Since pumpkins develop from the flowering part of a pumpkin vine, and also contain seeds, they are, in fact, a fruit! In addition to being a fruit, pumpkins also fall into the category of gourds and squash. While pumpkins, gourds and squash are considered to be fruit from a scientific standpoint, people within the culinary world will often still refer to them as vegetables because they are not sweet.
While pumpkins serve as festive decor for fall, they have more benefits than meets the eye! They are extremely nutrient-dense, containing high levels of vitamins and minerals, and low in calories. Just one cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A!
Pumpkin seeds have a variety of health benefits on their own too. They are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which aids in the creation of serotonin (AKA the chemical in our brain that regulates mood and keeps us happy). Pumpkin seeds also contain phytosterols, which are a plant-based chemical that has been shown to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol.
Other health benefits of pumpkins include high levels of potassium to help restore the body’s electrolyte balance, vitamin C to keep your immune system strong and fiber to help you feel fuller longer!
Pumpkin Crafts and Recipes
There are so many ways to enjoy pumpkins this fall! Of course, a Pumpkin Spice Latte and pumpkin brownie is a must!
- Little Pumpkin Handprint Card by Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls
- Paper Plate Pumpkin by The Simple Parent
- Tissue Paper Pumpkins by Mama’s Learning Corner
- Beaded Pumpkins by Glue Sticks & Gumdrops
- Yarn Balloon Pumpkins by One Little Project
- Stained Glass Pumpkin Suncatcher by Crafts on Sea
- Tea Light Pumpkins by Smart School House
- Fall Confetti Pumpkins by Made in a Day
- Drip Painting Pumpkins by Momdot
- Velvet Foam Pumpkins by Lia Griffith
- Pumpkin Tic-Tac-Toe by Toddler Approved
- Woodland Animal Decorated Pumpkins by Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls
- Paper Bag Pumpkins by Kid Friendly Things To Do
- Pumpkin French Toast with Whipped Pumpkin Butter by Life Made Simple
- Crock Pot Pumpkin Spiced Latte by Thriving Home
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls by The Novice Chef
- Pumpkin Spice Waffles by Lovely Little Kitchen
- Pumpkin Alfredo by Yellow Bliss Road
- White Chocolate Pumpkin Snickerdoodles by Sally’s Baking Addiction
- Pumpkin Rolls with Rosemary and Sea Salt by Drizzle and Drip
- Pumpkin Zucchini Bread by Lovefoodies
- Pumpkin Chili by Olivia’s Cuisine
- Sage Browned Butter Pumpkin Gnocchi by Recipes, Food & Cooking
- Spiced Pumpkin, Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup by Fuss Free Flavors
- Chicken Pumpkin Quinoa Chowder by Wholefully
- Chocolate Pumpkin Pound Cake by Chocolate, Chocolate and More
Whether you use pumpkins for a sweet or savory dish, or just as Halloween decor, there are so many ways to enjoy this fall-favorite fruit! Might we suggest the chocolate covered brownie form?