Is A Pumpkin A Fruit Or A Vegetable? (Read this first)

Pumpkin is actually a fruit, not a vegetable.

So why do so many people, including gardeners and agricultural institutions classify Pumpkin as a fruit and not a vegetable?

pumpkin a fruit

Are they accurate or just hiding something?

Well, let’s try and answer all of these questions:

According to Farmer’s Almanac, Pumpkin is a fruit. Because Pumpkin is the edible reproductive body of the seed plant. When cut open, the pumpkin is full of seeds, hence, the pumpkin is accurately classified as a fruit of the pumpkin vine.

Definitions: Fruit vs Vegetable

A fruit is the seed-bearing structure of a flowering plant. It is edible and differs from vegetables in a few important ways. Fruit is a sweeter, tastier version of a vegetable.

A vegetable, on the other hand, is a low-sugar part of a plant. It is typically used in savory dishes and is not a fruit. In addition, it is a versatile vegetable that is edible in many ways.

The best way to answer the question of whether a pumpkin is a fruit is to consider the definitions of vegetables and fruits.

As a general rule, a fruit is a plant without seeds. A vegetable is a part of a plant, such as lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

While this doesn’t apply to pumpkin, it is still a great addition to recipes.

Here’s my attempt at explaining it:

There are a number of fruits in the plant world that have a large hard shell and a seed inside, such as melons, cucumbers, squashes, and pumpkins. These are all regarded as being produced. 

There are also some fruits that have an outer layer called a pericarp which may be fleshy and sweet like apple or pear or dry and crunchy like almond or coconut. 

A pumpkin is just one example of something that is classified as being a fruit with an outer covering that has been modified for protection when growing from flower to plant with the fleshy bit on the inside being where all the nutrients are stored in order to help it survive until it can produce seeds itself.

An interesting thing about this type of fruit is that although the seed needs to be removed before eating, it does not always have to be discarded. The seeds are very nutritious and are eaten by many cultures around the world. 

A fruit has developed from the ovary of a flower after fertilization. You can think of an apple or pear or strawberry as the end result of that process where the flower is fertilized with pollen and then pollinated to spread its seeds.

If you look closely at a pumpkin, you’ll notice that it has a stem, which is attached to a vine growing up from underground roots or tubers. 

The vines grow leaves and stem along with the pumpkins in a process called photosynthesis, which basically means using light from sunlight to make sugars that plants use as their energy source.

The plant uses the sugars to grow, and pumpkins are very large and basically can’t move on their own as we can, so the pumpkins tend to sit around and ripen more than crawl off somewhere else.

When you slice open a pumpkin or scoop out its seeds for roasting (which is actually a fun thing to do at Halloween), what you’re seeing is the ovary of a flower with its stem attached that has turned into a fruit because it was fertilized with pollen from another pumpkin flower growing nearby. 

So those fruits have been made from an ovary from flowers that have been fertilized by pollen from other pumpkins – they’re really just big thick-skinned berries.

Short history

Pumpkin is the fruit of Cucurbita pepo. It belongs to the gourd family. Pumpkins are grown throughout the USA, with different colors and shapes. They are either orange or duller colored depending on where they are grown. 

Jack-o’-lanterns have been around for more than 100 years since Irish folklore stated that candles placed inside carved-out turnips would ward off spirits during Halloween night. 

When people started using pumpkins instead of turnips it became known as the Jack-o’-lantern because pumpkins were easier to carve and burned longer. Since then, people have been wondering if a pumpkin is a fruit or vegetable. We’ll settle this debate once and for all: A pumpkin is a fruit.

Your Halloween pumpkin is actually the fruit of Cucurbita pepo. It belongs to the gourd family. Pumpkins are grown throughout the USA, with different colors and shapes depending on where they are grown. 

Most pumpkins in the Southern USA are classified as a fruit, but in other areas, they may be classified as vegetables because their shape and color aren’t typical to that particular region. 

Finally, no matter what color your pumpkin is, it contains lots of important nutrients. So don’t let your kids leave any Jack-o’-lanterns behind since there’s more to a pumpkin than meets the eye.

Pumpkin flower

In countries where it gets very cold in the wintertime, some kinds of squashes grow on vines, but others grow on bushes. The pumpkin is a kind of squash that grows on a vine. Pumpkins are related to both cucumbers and melons.

Melons are fruits with seeds inside them, so they are not related to pumpkins or squashes at all. Melons can be muskmelons (including cantaloupe ), watermelons or winter melons (including honeydew). 

A pumpkin is not really a vegetable, because vegetables don’t have seeds. People sometimes call it a fruit, because it has seeds inside that people eat as food, but the official name for this kind of seed is an achene. So even though people like to make pumpkin pie, the proper name is ‘pumpkin pie with achenes’.

Pumpkin fruit has a thick outer rind (skin) and a firm inside flesh. People eat pumpkin as food, either cooked or raw, and use it in pies and bread. It also makes great decorations when carved into jack-0′-lanterns. Squashes like the pumpkin grow fast and produce many male flowers, each with only stamens for reproductive parts.     

The subject of pumpkins and their place in the kitchen is debated among many professionals and home cooks alike. This article provides some evidence as to why many believe pumpkins are vegetables:

  • Pumpkins grow from the ground and cannot be accessed without first removing dirt/soil (thus they are not found hanging on trees like other fruits such as apples)
  • Pumpkins contain seeds (which can be roasted for consumption) which give an indication that it belongs to the squash family, along with zucchini and others. These seeds contain nutrients similar to those found in nuts such as magnesium, folic acid, and iron.
  • In most supermarkets they are found in the same area as other vegetables such as carrots and potatoes, not with fruits such as apples and pears.
  • They are used to make soups, pies, and breads rather than eaten raw or juiced like many other fruits.

The subject of pumpkins is a difficult one for those looking to be 100% correct on their answer of “Is a pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable?” Even though there does exist evidence that indicates some signs of pumpkins being placed in the “vegetable” category along with other squashes such as zucchini and cucumbers, there also exists some evidence that suggests pumpkins should act as fruits. This evidence includes:

  • They grow on vines that climb like other fruits such as grapes and kiwi rather than growing from the ground like vegetables
  • The pulp of pumpkins is sweet in taste, unlike other vegetables which may sometimes contain bitter flavors
  • When eating pumpkin seeds you are eating a fruit known as the “pumpkin seed” (which acts similarly to nuts) due to its nutritional value.

However, some people consider that it should be considered as a vegetable because:

  • It has seeds on the inside, like most vegetables do.
  • It can be eaten with filling or without filling (like vegetables).
  • Pumpkins are cooked before they are eaten, like potatoes for example.

Here are three facts that prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt:

Fact 1) Pumpkins are grown on farms 

Fact 2) You have to gather them yourself if you want one 

Fact 3) They’re orange and sweet.

Pumpkins are usually considered to be a type of squash. However, pumpkins and other types of squash may be classified as either fruits or vegetables depending on scientific definitions and everyday usage. 

Most commonly, the term “fruit” is used for those plant parts that contain seeds and/or develop from the ovary wall of flowering plants (fruits, nuts, berries). 

The term “vegetable” is usually applied to edible plant parts such as roots (potatoes), stems (celery), leaves (spinach), flowers (broccoli), fruits (tomatoes), and seeds (peppers) which do not fit the previous definition. Pumpkins belong to the Cucurbitaceae family which contains melons, cucumbers, gourds, and squashes. 

All these forms of this plant share one common feature– they do not bear seeds on the ovary wall which is typical for fruit. Pumpkins are usually large orange squash-like fruits containing many seeds embedded in soft fleshy material. However, pumpkins can also be considered vegetables because they come from plants without ovaries (e.g., banana trees).

Pumpkins are typically harvested as mature fruit, but they are also consumed as young tender fruits or immature green seeds inside pods while still growing on the vines before reaching full maturity.

Comparison Table Between Pumpkin and Squash

Parameter of ComparisonPumpkinSquash
StemThe stem of a Pumpkin is firm and hard.The stem of a Squash is loose and hollow.
AvailabilityPumpkins are harvested in September and are available in stores till November.Squashes are harvested in winter and are available all year round.
SeedsThe seeds of a Pumpkin are edible and rich in fatty acids.The seeds of a Squash are edible and rich in fiber and protein.
ProducerChina is the biggest producer of pumpkins.The United States is the biggest producer of Squash
VarietiesThe various varieties of Pumpkin are Jack Be Little Pumpkins, Atlantic Giant, Big Max, Prizewinner Pumpkin.The various varieties of Squash are Hubbard, butternut, buttercup acorn, delicata, and Muscat Squash
Omega Content100g of Pumpkin contains 3mg of Omega 3 and 2mg of Omega 6.100g of Squash contains 26 mg of Omega 3 and 16mg of Omega 6.
Other usesPumpkin is popularly used for ornamental uses on Halloween for carving purposes.Squash is not used for ornamental purposes but mainly is eaten for its various benefits.
Nutrient ValuePumpkins are rich in potassium and Vitamin A, E, and CSquashes are rich in vitamins A, vitamin B6, magnesium, and fiber.

So pumpkins are fruits, not vegetables

And here’s the kicker – potatoes are also fruits. They’re actually modified underground stems that grow in the same way that pumpkin vines do, but they don’t turn into big thick-skinned berries as pumpkins do – they just keep growing bigger and bigger potatoes underneath the ground.

So there you have it. Pumpkins are definitely fruits. Potatoes are too. And apparently, tomatoes are fruit as well…but I’m not so sure about that one…

I really think they should be considered a vegetable because of how we use them most often — in salads or cooked with other vegetables, but apparently, both botanists can’t agree on that one, either way, so since this article is about pumpkins, I’m definitely going to say that a pumpkin is a fruit.

Conclusion

So, although not 100% correct it can be said that pumpkins do act more like veggies than they do fruits, but there are many signs that act in favor of calling them fruit too.

Thus, I conclude that for this article “Is a pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable?” The answer will be: “Pumpkins can be both fruit and vegetables.”