The Reason Pumpkins Are Technically Berries

Every year when autumn rolls around with all its fall colors and warm baked goods people wait with bated breath for the pumpkin to come back in season. From September through November squash ripens and is ready to be made into our favorite treats: pumpkin scones, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and, the seasonal classic, pumpkin pie. It truly is a sign of the holidays that pumpkin becomes everyone's collective craving, but who can blame us? Pumpkin is an attractive bright color, has a distinctly sweet flavor, and can be consumed in both sweet and savory dishes.

Gourds are just a part of life three months out of the year in the United States, but despite their massive popularity, not a lot of people look at the pumpkin and remember that it is a fruit! It seems funny when we think about it, but fruits are simply the ovaries of a flower with many seeds inside, and pumpkins just so happen to fit the description (via Delish). Now, before your mind begins spiraling into wondering whether that definition means that things like cucumbers and olives are fruits too (they are by the way), let's talk more about some of the largest berries in the world!

A berry fit for the season

According to the Guinness World Records, the largest pumpkin in the world weighs 1,226 kg (2,702 lb and 13.9 oz). That's heavier than the average baby elephant! It's hard to imagine a fruit that large, what's even harder to imagine is that pumpkins are actually single berries. Can you imagine a blueberry or a strawberry growing that big? The pumpkin you carved into a jack-o'-lantern and baked into your Thanksgiving pie is a kind of berry called a "pepo." Botanic Gardens says that a pepo is a fruit that is a member of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae) which is characterized by a fibery, tough rind, and a multitude of seeds. Other pepo fruits include melons and cucumbers.

Pumpkins can be pureed, roasted, thrown in stews, and even mashed into seasonal beverages, which makes them the perfect fruit for all your food needs. Additionally, there are hundreds of different kinds of pumpkin varieties to choose from for any of your needs (via Hill Farm). If you need some pie squash, try picking the hubbard squash, buttercup squash, or sugar pumpkin for all your fruity needs this holiday season!