About a third of the harvest.

About a third of the harvest.

Autumn wouldn’t be complete without the requisite wheelbarrow loads of pumpkins and other winter squash. In spite of some late-frost drama this spring, the harvest wasn’t bad.

My kids ask every year, “Which are the pumpkins and which are the squash? What makes a pumpkin a pumpkin?”

The short answer is that a pumpkin is a squash that we call a pumpkin. There are four species and countless varieties that variously get called pumpkin and squash. Some fruits are known as pumpkins in one place, and squash in another.

I don’t bother with the distinction. The important distinctions are between varieties. Some are best made into soup, others make splendid pies. Some have robust, dry flesh that holds up well in savoury galettes. Some are just the right size for baking whole. Some keep well, and others need to be eaten quickly after harvest. Some have flesh only useful as goat food, but have naked seeds that are wonderful toasted with salt and spices.

Which is, of course, how I justify planting so many pumpkins of so many varieties. I need them all!