Pumpkin is a cultivar of the genus Cucurbita, of Cucurbitaceae family, native to central America and then spread all over the world. The most common Pumpkins, like Cucurbita pepo, are big and round, with an external yellow-to-orange thick skin and an orange pulp with large and flat seeds.
In cooking, thanks to its mild savor, Pumpkin can be used both for sweet and savory dishes. Here in Italy, it is mainly used with pasta and rice, or served with spinach, mushrooms or sauseges. In North America it is a staple food in Halloween and Thanksgiving period, eaten mashed or used to make the famous Pumpkin pie.
Fun fact: Pumpkin is considered as the symbol of Halloween feast, in North America. According to tradition, carved Pumpkin is named Jack o’ lantern, after the character of an old Irish folk tale. In fact, Halloween feast seems to have come from Irish and Scottish custom to celebrate sowing, harvest and changes of seasons. Actually, Irish and Scottish people used to carve turnips, and not pumpkins, to make lanterns. Then, people emigrating in North America replaced them with pumpkin, which were available in greater quantity.
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