Pumpkins are native to the Western Hemisphere, where they grew in a region stretching from the southwest United States to Peru. Cultivated for over 5,500 years, these gourds are one of the New World's longest-known crops.
Interestingly, many dishes commonly associated with pumpkins can also successfully be made with squash. In fact, many commercially available pumpkin pies and cans of puree do not contain any pumpkin. Instead, they are made of Cucurbita maxima, a squash whose flesh is a richer color and more nutritious. In fact, squash are so versatile that a small variety has even been bred to mimic the taste and texture of sweet potato.