If your know-it-all-friend has already informed you of this fact, we're sorry to tell you that she's right. Botanists don't categorize fruits and vegetables by whether they taste sweet or savory. It all about the anatomy.
Carve a jack-o'-lantern and you'll encounter the stringy orange pulp and many seeds inside. Those seeds — also called pepitas — provide all the proof you need. In fact, New Hampshire officially named pumpkin in 2006!
If you're wondering what really counts as a vegetable then, just think of all the other edible parts of plants. That can include the leaves (lettuce), stem (asparagus), roots (carrots), tubers (potatoes), bulbs (onions), or flowers (artichokes).
When it comes to pumpkin, the word itself has no botanical meaning, according to the . The round, orange things we call pumpkins technically qualify squash since they're part of the Cucurbitaceae family, which contains 700 different species.
Ready for one more mind-blowing fact? The big pumpkins, mini pumpkins, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, zucchini, and ornamental gourds are all different cultivars of the same species: Cucurbita pepo, which originated in Mexico more than ago.
Now that you're up-to-date on pumpkin botany, know that it doesn't matter whether you call it a fruit, vegetable, squash, or gourd. Eating more pumpkin is definitely the right move.
"Pumpkin is loaded with blood pressure-regulating minerals potassium and magnesium as well as iron," says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the GolfHr Institute. "Plus the fiber content of pumpkin is filling and helps stabilize blood sugar, which will keep your energy up throughout the day."
Bring on the pumpkin soup!