Friday, 21 October 2011

Pumpkin vs Squash

The issue of Squashes and Pumpkins and which is what causes problems in the otherwise heavenly, perfect marriage of the Gaults. I get it wrong all the time and Andrew is, quite frankly, fed up and worse than that - he is now confused. As we all know Andrew does know his stuff, I am the mere student, so when I annoy him so much that he gets confuddled you know it's bad!

So in an attempt to recreate the harmony in the household I have looked up a few references to discover what the big mystery is..........

What I am so happy to tell you, is I am not alone!! The two are constantly being confused (yay!) due to the fact that 'the two terms have no exact botanical defination' (1). Happy me. Both they and the Gourd are members of the 'Cucurbita' family, the tricky bit comes from the existence of subgroups called pepo, maxima and moschata and differences in the stems.

Cucurbita Pepo
This my friends is the true Halloween scary Pumpkin. A real 'true' Pumpkin. They have hard orange skin that's great for carving and woody deeply ribbed stems. Confusingly this subgroup also includes some marrows, squashes, gourds and courgettes but lets not complicate things.

Cucurbita Maxima
This species 'also contains varieties that produce pumpkin-like fruit but the skin is usually more yellow than orange and the stems are soft and spongy or corky, without ridges and without an enlargement next to the fruit'. Hahaa - I maybe going mad but there are also known varieties in this group that are listed as Pumpkins but aren't really.

Cucurbita Moschata
Now thankfully these ones are easier to identify as they are generally speaking, oblong in shape and less orangy, more tan coloured, think Butternut Squash. 'The stems are deeply ridged and enlarged next to the fruit' in this case. But can you believe it - in your cans of  'Pumpkin' you will be shocked and feel cheated to learn that you are actually buying a 'moschata'. Oh for shame!!!
(Though if you are buying canned Pumpkin then I think you deserve a lie - grow your own!)

This is cute ~ 'Generally speaking a pumpkin is something you carve, a squash is something you cook and a gourd is something you look at'.

*Most of this info and quotes have come from a fabulous website called Aggie Horticulture - thank you
*The first quote comes from Vegetable Expert

Hugs - I'm off to look at Pinterest for interesting Pumpkin carvings - you can check out what I find here


  1. Well put Carrie :-)

    Don't even bother to cook the pap from a round orange Hallowe'en pumpkin! Grow a gorgeous steely blue-green Queensland Blue and enjoy the rich, sweet, nutty, smooth, deep orange flesh! mmmmmmm!


  2. So where does my Crown Prince fit in as it is a blue/grey colour and round. Then there's the cucumber that is supposed to be in the curcurbita family. Just thought I'd give you a bit more to research!

  3. oh dear god - I know cucumbers fit in there too but I was trying to simplify the whole thing - I'm so confuddled.
    I have put our gorgeous Crown Princes into the Maxima group in my head and I will not change it. From now on I make up the rules!! xx

  4. I like those delicate Martha Stewart pumpkins, ginkgo leaves, that's unusual, and the lacy filigree patterns. So different to the usual TEETH!

  5. I have a few ripening on the kitchen windowsill. Whatever they are they have lovely bright colours and I'll be growing more next year!

  6. I'm still smiling at 'confuddled' :)

    Makes me miss 'Little Britian' not been on the tele.

    As for Pumkins I think I want to try and grow one next year, havent a clue if I even like them but I would as least try carvinging one just for the fun of messing it up.


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