A pumpkin is a vernacular term for mature winter squash of certain species and varieties in the genus Cucurbita that are usually round with smooth, slightly ribbed skin that is most often deep yellow to orange in coloration. White, green, and other color pumpkins also exist. The term pumpkin has no agreed upon botanical or scientific meaning, and is sometimes used interchangeably with "squash" or "winter squash". The term is commonly used for cultivars of Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, C. argyrosperma, and C. moschata.
When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, steamed, or roasted. In its native North America, pumpkins are an important part of the traditional autumn harvest, eaten mashed and making its way into soups and purées. Often, it is made into pumpkin pie, various kinds of which are a traditional staple of the Canadian and American Thanksgiving holidays. In Canada, Mexico, the United States, Europe and China, the seeds are often roasted and eaten as a snack.
Pumpkins that are still small and green may be eaten in the same way as summer squash or zucchini. In the Middle East, pumpkin is used for sweet dishes; a well-known sweet delicacy is called halawa yaqtin. In the Indian subcontinent, pumpkin is cooked with butter, sugar, and spices in a dish called kadu ka halwa. Pumpkin is used to make sambar in Udupi cuisine.
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