Pumpkins - Gourds or Squash!?


Pictured: Wee Pumpkins Kit using one skein each in Universal Yarn Classic Shades #748 Velvet Cloak, #712 Harvest, and #721 Chili Peppers.

Over the past month here at Jimmy Beans, we've been up in arms about what a pumpkin is classified as. With some of us staunchly against the idea that a pumpkin could be anything other than a squash and the others just desperately wanting to know the answer even if they had to face being wrong! So, naturally, we had to get to the bottom of this.

Ambushing the Beans throughout the day, we asked them,

"Without looking it up, what is a Pumpkin? Is it a squash or a gourd?"

Most had a confused look. None of us are horticulturists, so we never really thought about it! Some mulled it over for a moment before blurting out their answer while others weighed their options before taking a stab at it - after all, they had a 50/50 chance for guessing the correct answer, right?

Well, maybe it isn't that simple!


Pictured: Wee Pumpkins Kit using one skein each in Universal Yarn Classic Shades #748 Velvet Cloak and #721 Chili Peppers.

Team Squash took the win with the majority of the Beans counting 65% of the vote while Team Gourd had the remaining 35% of the vote.

So, who really wins in this debate?!

Well, it depends on what we were imagining when we think of the word "pumpkin", apparently!

Squash and gourds are a part of the same family: Cucurbitaceae. This family is ENORMOUS and encompasses over 700 species, meaning there's definitely some overlap in there somewhere.
For the most part, gourds are defined as an "inedible squash", usually with a hard, rigid skin and little to no edible parts to it (the parts that you can eat are usually super bitter). Gourds are typically used for decoration (like using them as bottles or instruments or to just make your porch look extra-festive!) while squash is harvested specifically for consumption.

With this in mind, the pumpkins we gather at pumpkin patches for means of making a pie or a jack-o-lantern are squash, while those tiny miniature pumpkins we use for painting and decoration are more like gourds!



So really, even though it may not sate our competitive spirits - no one was technically wrong!

What kinds of pumpkins have you been picking up for the coming holidays? Any squash? Perhaps a gourd or two?

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