When we see something that looks so good and we also know that with it we can make many culinary recipes, it is normal that we have many doubts about whether or not it is what it seems to be. An example of this is the squashalso known as pumpkin.
It is very common to wonder if squash is a fruit or vegetable, so if you want to know, then I will answer your question.
What is pumpkin?
Squash is the fruit of Cucurbit plants often called gourds.; that is, it is the organ that develops when the flower is pollinated and the one that contains the seeds of the new generation. The Cucurbitaceae family includes more than 850 species that are mostly herbaceous, vines or creeping. Its fruits are large and have a firm rind. Its size and color is very variable, and can be elongated or rounded, with a weight of up to 1kg or more than 2kg, yellow, whitish or orange-reddish.
These plants are creeping, which means that their stems crawl through the ground. Despite this, they can also be used as pendants on lattices, for example. Other fruits such as watermelon and melon and vegetables such as cucumber and zucchini also correspond to these characteristics.
Being the berry fruit of the pumpkin, it is a type of annual plant that has a short duration. In the tropics it is cultivated from March to June. Its flowers are yellow and have large dimensions like its fruit. The shape of these flowers are funnel type. One of the curiosities that this plantation has is that its flowers have a very short existence. They begin to grow at first light and finally close mid-morning. They only take advantage of the morning light to carry out photosynthesis. Being a monoecious plant it is capable of having male and female flowers at the same time. This means that they are flowers capable of being selfed.
One of its female flowers can be characterized by pollen from a male flower belonging to the same brand. Not for this, cross pollinations prevail that help improve genetic exchange. Female flowers that are fertilized by pollen than other plants, whether of the same variety or another, tend to have better results. When the female flower is fertilized the fruit develops and if it is not fertilized it wilts.
The fruit of the zaballo usually has a variable size. They can be smaller pumpkins or weigh more than 20 kilos. They are spheroidal fruits with a flattened and curved shape. Their surface can be smooth or rough and they usually have yellow and green colors. Its pulp is hard and orange in color. The seeds are quite flattened and are only one centimeter long. They are often used for human consumption and fodder for domestic animals, medicinal products and as a decorative element. We remember that pumpkins are often used at Halloween time as a decorative element. Pumpkin seeds are often eaten roasted.
As for the stem, It is semi-woody and can be both creeping and climbing. They have springs that can be tangled to grow in length and they use these springs to be able to climb high places. Finally, its leaves are large and shaped like a heart. It has some deeper incisions and they are rough to the touch. The leaves are usually green.
There are some varieties depending on the climate where they are grown. Pumpkins are generally found in hot and temperate climates. They are capable of adapting to different atmospheric and ecological situations. We found that they can naturally grow in deciduous tropical forests, thorn forests, mountain mesophilic forests, holm oaks, pine forests and xerophilous scrub.
Among the most widely known varieties of pumpkin we have the following:
- Summer squash: It is the variety that has the clearest and finest skin. Its seeds are soft and usually have a short existence.
- Winter squash: they have a sweeter taste than the previous ones but it is drier inside. They tend to have less water content and their bark is thicker. They have a longer duration process since they have to thicken the skin. From this variety you can obtain the sweet angel hair that is used to make some pastry desserts.
What is your cultivation?
In order to enjoy the flavor of pumpkin, we recommend following these tips:
- Sowing: in mid-spring, in a seedling tray with universal growing medium.
- Irrigation: every 2-3 days or so. The substrate / soil must be prevented from drying out.
- Planting in the garden: as soon as the plants have grown about 10cm, in rows leaving a distance of 20cm between them.
- Subscriber: throughout the season with organic fertilizers once a month.
- Pruning: It will be enough to remove the dry, diseased or weak leaves.
- Harvest: in autumn.
- Rusticity: it does not support the cold, much less frost. It is an annual plant.
Benefits and properties
We know that pumpkin is extremely nutritious and healthy. It can be used as an anthelmintic and is widely used in diets to reduce weight since it has a low calorie content. It is high in water and fiber, making it ideal for fighting constipation and preventing fluid retention. There are many people who introduce them into their weight loss diet. In addition, the high amount of beta carotene helps protect from the sun’s rays. The pulp is widely used for the preparation of facial masks that request and eliminate dead cells. They are especially very useful and are prepared together with a mixture of egg, milk and honey.
I hope what you have read has been of interest to you. If you have been wanting to know more about squashes or pumpkins, I invite you to read this article.