A pumpkin is a cultivar of a squash plant, most commonly of Cucurbita pepo, that is round, with smooth, slightly ribbed skin, and deep yellow to orange coloration. The thick shell contains the seeds and pulp. Some exceptionally large cultivars of squash with similar appearance have also been derived from Cucurbita maxima. Specific cultivars of winter squash derived from other species, including C. argyrosperma, and C. moschata, are also sometimes called “pumpkin”. In New Zealand and Australian English, the term pumpkin generally refers to the broader category called winter squash elsewhere.
Native to North America, pumpkins are widely grown for commercial use and are used both in food and recreation. Pumpkin pie, for instance, is a traditional part of Thanksgiving meals in Canada and the United States, although commercially canned pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie fillings are usually made from different kinds of winter squash than the pumpkins frequently carved as jack-o’-lanterns for decoration around Halloween.
Cabbage, which is often lumped into the same category as lettuce because of their similar appearance, is actually a part of the cruciferous vegetable family.
Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, kale, and broccoli are notorious for being chock-full of beneficial nutrients. If you are trying to improve your diet, cruciferous vegetables should be at the very top of your grocery list.
Cabbage can vary in color from green to red and purple, and the leaves can be smooth or crinkled. With less than 20 calories per half cup cooked, it is a vegetable worth making room on your plate for.
This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles discussing the health benefits of popular foods. It provides a nutritional breakdown of cabbage and an in-depth look at its possible health benefits, how to incorporate more cabbage into your diet and any potential health risks of consuming cabbage.
In everyday usage, a vegetable is any part of a plant that is consumed by humans as food as part of a meal. The term vegetable is somewhat arbitrary, and largely defined through culinary and cultural tradition. It normally excludes other food derived from plants such as fruits, nuts, and cereal grains, but includes seeds such as pulses. The original meaning of the word vegetable, still used in biology, was to describe all types of plant, as in the terms “vegetable kingdom” and “vegetable matter”.
Originally, vegetables were collected from the wild by hunter-gatherers and entered cultivation in several parts of the world, probably during the period 10,000 BC to 7,000 BC, when a new agricultural way of life developed. At first, plants which grew locally would have been cultivated, but as time went on, trade brought exotic crops from elsewhere to add to domestic types. Nowadays, most vegetables are grown all over the world as climate permits, and crops may be cultivated in protected environments in less suitable locations. China is the largest producer of vegetables and global trade in agricultural products allows consumers to purchase vegetables grown in faraway countries. The scale of production varies from subsistence farmers supplying the needs of their family for food, to agribusinesses with vast acreages of single-product crops. Depending on the type of vegetable concerned, harvesting the crop is followed by grading, storing, processing, and marketing.
Vegetables can be eaten either raw or cooked and play an important role in human nutrition, being mostly low in fat and carbohydrates, but high in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Many nutritionists encourage people to consume plenty of fruit and vegetables, five or more portions a day often being recommended.