Wait, are pumpkins actually fruit?   

By Corey Williams
July 08, 2019
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Oh, how we love pumpkins. From pumpkin pie to pumpkin spice lattes, autumn wouldn’t be the same without them. But have you ever wondered: What exactly is a pumpkin? Is it a fruit or a vegetable? Is it a gourd or a squash—or is it both? We dug up all the info you never knew you needed about everyone’s favorite fall staple. 

Pumpkins Are Fruit

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According to the Farmer’s Almanac, a pumpkin is a fruit. A fruit is defined as “the usually edible reproductive body of a seed plant.” Pumpkins are definitely edible (not to mention delicious) and if you’ve cut into one to carve a jack-o’-lantern, you know that they’re absolutely full of seeds. So what else makes a pumpkin a pumpkin? 

Part of the Cucurbitaceae family, pumpkins likely originated in Mexico about 10,000 years ago. The word “pumpkin” actually has no botanical meaning, according to Missouri Botanical Garden, but the round, orange thing you put on your doorstep in October is a squash.  

“Gourd” is the term used to describe crop plants in the family Cucurbitaceae, so a pumpkin is also considered a gourd. 

Related: Is a Tomato a Fruit or a Vegetable?

Pumpkin Nutrition

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No matter what you call them, pumpkins are definitely good for you. The fruit is linked to numerous health benefits. Among other things, pumpkins are:

Rich in vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that influences brain function, skin, heart, kidneys, lungs, vision, and immune system health.

WATCH: Mom vs. Pumpkin Carving

  • Helpful with weight management. Pumpkins are a nutrient-dense food—they’re relatively low in calories despite being packed with nutrients. It’s also full of fiber, which can help curb your appetite. 

Good for your heart. Pumpkins are rich in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber—all nutrients that have been linked with heart health.  

Pumpkin Recipes

Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Looking for a delicious and comforting pumpkin recipe? You’ve come to the right place. 

Find even more pumpkin recipes here

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