Learn the difference between Cucurbita pepo and Cucurbita maxima squash – and where “pumpkins” fit into the family.
Pumpkins are a distinct part of American culture, especially during fall.
Photo by Michelle Pellot
Neatly stacked ‘Musquee de Provence’ (C. moschata) make for a beautiful display.
Photo by istock/Barcin
C. pepo squash have five-angled stems that slope smoothly to meet the fruit.
Photo by istock/Sarah Lee
C. maxima squash have irregularly rounded stems with no angles.
Photo by istock/OlafSpeier
Native Americans dried strips of pumpkin and wove them into mats. They also roasted long strips of pumpkin on the open fire and ate them. The origin of pumpkin pie occurred when the colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and filled the insides with milk, spices, and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in hot ashes.
Photo by Fotolia/yotrakbutda
One difference between summer and winter squash is that we eat summer squash before the seeds have hardened and the fruit has ripened, while we eat winter squash only after the fruit has matured.