In the realm of autumnal delights, there exists a trio of curiously similar yet undeniably distinct characters: the pumpkin, the squash, and the gourd. Much like the cast of a whimsical cartoon, these members of the Cucurbitaceae family (which also includes cucumber and watermelon) never fail to amuse with their unique quirks and personalities. As we embark on a journey to decipher their mysteries, let us not forget the legend of Linus, in “Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and his eternal quest for the Great Pumpkin patch.Did he really know the difference between pumpkins, squash and gourds?
“Oh, Great Pumpkin, where are you?!” he (Linus) cries.
Picture this: a crisp October night, a faint scent of cinnamon lingering in the air, and our dear friend Linus fervently perched in a pumpkin patch, waiting for the mystical Great Pumpkin to make its legendary appearance. Little did he know that in the neighboring patches, a squabble was brewing amongst the pumpkins, squash, and gourds about their distinct identities.
Pumpkin, squash and gourd
The pumpkin, with its robust orange demeanour, has long enjoyed the limelight as the poster child of Halloween. Plump, jolly, and ready to be carved into a spooky visage, the pumpkin proudly boasts its lineage as the jack-o’-lantern extraordinaire. However, beneath its cheery facade, the pumpkin often laments being typecast, yearning for appreciation beyond the spooktacular festivities. But are pumpkin patch pumpkins edible? It really depends on the type of pumpkin but your best bet for cooking and making pumpkin pie from scratch is a pumpkin that is sweet like the sugar pie pumpkin. They don’t grow to spectacular sizes, but a couple will do for soup, muffins or pies. According to The Kitchen, sugar pumpkins are known by specific names are Baby Pam, Autumn Gold, Ghost Rider, New England Pie Pumpkin, Lumina (which are white), Cinderella, and Fairy Tale.
Squash or winter squash?
Meanwhile, the squash, with its diverse lineage and an eclectic array of shapes and colors, could never resist flaunting its versatility. From the zucchini’s sleek figure to the acorn squash’s dainty demeanour, each member of the squash family vies for attention, claiming to be the most adaptable of the lot. But deep down, they harbor an envy for the pumpkin’s seasonal stardom, secretly plotting to steal the show at the next harvest festival. Because after all isn’t the Delicata and the Butternut the star of the dinner table?
Warty pumpkin or gourds?
Lastly, the gourd, known for its peculiar, often knobbly appearance, bears the weight of being the black sheep of the Cucurbitaceae family. With a myriad of shapes and sizes ranging from the bumpy, warty, and lumpy, the gourd feels misunderstood, resigned to being relegated to mere decorative objects and birdhouses. Oh, the tales the gourd could tell of being mistaken for a misshapen pumpkin or an oddly contorted squash! But they make the most spectacularfall and Halloween decorations!
When is the best time to pick a cucurbits?
There really is no correct answer because it depends on which cucurbit and what you are using it for and where you live. My research and own experience is to leave them on the vine as long as possible. I have also been told to wait until the first frost to pick them off the vine as they will be sweeter. However, this will also depend on where you live. There is more scientific information on how and when to pick you pumpkins and winter squash including let them cure off the vine (who knew). Check out the facts from Timberjay, “When to pick your Cucurbits”.
As Linus remains steadfast in his vigil, unaware of the amusing drama unfolding around him, the pumpkins, squash, and gourds continue their rivalry, each yearning for their moment in the spotlight. Alas, perhaps they fail to realize that in the grand tapestry of autumnal festivities, each has a role to play, a unique flavor to offer, and a place in the hearts of festive enthusiasts.
In the end, as Linus’s vigil concludes, whether or not the Great Pumpkin graces his presence, let us all take a moment to appreciate the humble pumpkin, the versatile squash, and the peculiar gourd. For in their differences lies the true essence of autumn, reminding us that amidst the whimsy and the rivalry, there exists a shared charm that unites them all. As for Linus, well, there’s always next year’s pumpkin patch. Happy Halloween everyone! 👻🎃
Question? When do you pick your Cucurbits (or pumpkin, squash and gourds) ? Drop us a comment in our facebook feed!
Resources for pumpkin squash and gourds
Farmers Almanac: All things pumpkin
Lee Valley: How to make pumpkin pie from scratch
Lee Valley: The world of pumpkins
Stream Apple TV: It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
Peanuts Coloring Sheets