Now is when the yellows, browns, and oranges of the season take their places in the autumnal repertory of jack-o’-lanterns on stoops, gourds on tables, and pumpkin-spice lattes warming bellies. I feel very beloved as the fruit playing all the starring roles.
But let’s get a few things straight, because I can tell you’re mildly confused. I see it in your face every year when you learn that the “pumpkin” in your pumpkin pie isn’t what you pictured, but rather honeynut, buttercup, or some other squash. I hear it in your voice when you order a squash dish and the waiter brings a plate of zucchini. It is indeed confusing how many types of me have gotten squashed into a single category of fruit that Native Americans called askútasquash. In July, I’m springy zucchini; in fall, I am acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squashes, as well as pumpkins, which are great for carving and less great for eating in pie. Leave my winter varieties to dry on the vine, and I harden into gourds.
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