Who knew that in Cape May, New Jersey, I’d fall in love with pumpkin? Certainly not me. But it was there I discovered pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread and pumpkin fudge. And while I’ve always loved pumpkin pie, especially during the holidays, until I visited the east coast that fateful October, I hadn’t given the fruit much thought.

Yes, it is a fruit. You can look it up for yourself, or you can take my word for it. If you take my word for it, I give you permission to count pumpkin muffins as a fruit serving. You can bet I do!

Pumpkin’s main nutrients are lutein and both alpha and beta carotene, the latter of which generates vitamin A in the body. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, and zinc, and may even lower cholesterol. One gram of pumpkin seed protein contains as much tryptophan as a full glass of milk.

The uses of pumpkin range from flavoring beverages to stuffing ravoli, but I’ll end with a final tidbit which might come in handy someday, like if you ever need to prove you’re smarter than a fifth grader. Raw pumpkin can be fed to poultry, as a supplement to regular feed, during the winter to help maintain egg production, which usually drops off during the cold months.

So there you have it. Pumpkin: It ain’t just for pie anymore!