There are many pumpkin parts. You may be surprised at just how many.
Pumpkins are examined, studied, and literally dissected more than any other object. Aside from frogs in Biology class, we can’t think of any other item that has been more thoroughly examined in the classroom, or at home.
Young and old kids alike, constantly ask “what’s this part” or “what’s that part called?” Do you know the entire anatomy of a pumpkin? As a result of reading this article you will become a subject matter expert.
Stem – The stem is often referred to as the “Handle”. Located on the very top of the pumpkin. During the growing cycle, the stem is green. As the fruit ripens, it turns brown to brownish green, and slightly curved. During the growing season, the stem is attached to the vine. It is the umbilical cord, bringing nutrients to grow the fruit. For the Fall and Halloween season, the stem gives the pumpkin “Character”.
Caution: Be careful not to lift it by its “handle”. The handle breaks easily.
Tendril – Thin, hair-like “tendrils” are attached to the stem and along the vine. During the growing season, these tendrils are green. They twist around fences, posts, other plants, and also on objects on the ground. The tendrils help anchor the vine and protect it from the wind. Dry, brown tendrils often remain on the stem after harvesting. This gives the pumpkin character. Furthermore, tendrils are viewed as artistic in pictures.
Leaves – The plant’s leaves absorb energy from the sun for plant and fruit growth. They grow along the vine. However, the leaves do not grow on the stem, or on top of the fruit. Artist’s rendering of fall pumpkins often have a few small, green leaves sitting atop the fruit and attached to the stem. Also, the the leaves are actually much larger than depicted in these artistic pictures. Once a leaf is removed from the vine, those green leaves can not remain fresh and green for long. That is to say, those leaves would be brown.
The Lid – Cut around the stem of your pumpkin, to open it up for gutting and carving. This becomes the “lid”.
Ribs – Look at the outside of a pumpkin. There are indented ridges running from top to bottom. These are called ribs. Sometimes, they are shallow. Sometimes, they are very deep. They add depth to the appearance of the fruit, and a lot of artistic character. Which do you prefer?
Pumpkin Shell – This refers to both the outer skin and the pulp of the fruit.
Skin – The thin, shiny, orange outer layer of a pumpkin is called the skin. It is sometimes called the “rind”. The skin is a protective layer, which keep insects and disease out of the fruit. It is not edible. But, it won’t make you sick if you eat it. It just doesn’t taste good, or have a pleasurable texture.
Pulp – Also called “meat”. This is the yummy part of the pumpkin that you use to cook with, and to make literally hundreds of tasty recipes and treats. You can use pumpkin in everything from main courses to desserts, ice cream and even beer! See our cookbook for recipes.
Blossom End – When the fruit is very young, a flower blossom is attached to the end of the baby fruit (its bottom). This is the blossom end. The female flower is pollinated, and the fruit then develops. The flower dies, off, leaving a scar in its place. The blossom end is also called the pumpkin’s belly button.
Cavity – This is the inside of a pumpkin. After removing the “guts”, its just an empty cavity. On Halloween, a candle is placed inside the cavity to light up the pumpkin and make it glow!
Brains – Okay, the proper name is fibrous strands and seeds. However, just about everyone calls them ” pumpkin brains”. There are many other names for this slimy, mushy, mass of strings and seeds. They also include: guts, sinew, goop, goo, pumpkin slime, and just plain old “yucky stuff”.
Seeds – Seeds are the beginning of next year’s pumpkins. Do you remember the old saying “Which came first, the pumpkin or the seed?” Pumpkin seeds are a delicious and nutritious snack. A pumpkin has hundreds of seeds.
Seed Coat – also called “seed jacket” or “seed shell”. It is the outer layer of the seed. Nature provides this coat, to protect the nut or “seed germ” inside, that will eventually emerge into a new plant.
Nut – The nut, technically called “germ”, is located inside the seed shell It eventually develops into a new pumpkin plant. When you plant a seed and water it, moisture penetrates through the seed coat. Moisture and warmth triggers the new pumpkin seedling to eventually grow.
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