Pumpkins. This time of year, you see them in huge piles, lined up on porches, sitting next to trees and even on the kitchen table. But do you know everything there is to know about these familiar fall fruits? This week, I have some pumpkin facts that may surprise you.
- A Winning Pumpkin. As of 2018, the record for the biggest pumpkin grown in the United States is 2,528 pounds. It was grown by New Hampshire resident Steve Geddes.
- The Pumpkin Capital of the World. The city of Morton in Illinois is known as the Pumpkin Capital of the World. Why? The Nestle Food Company's pumpkin processing plant is located in Morton. This is where more than 85% of the world's pumpkin is canned this time of year. I'd say that certainly earns them the title!
- Pumpkins are Worldwide. Pumpkins grow on every continent throughout the world with the exception of Antarctica. I don't blame them, do you?
- A Potato Jack-o'-Lantern? In Ireland a few hundred years ago, early jack-o'-lanterns were carved out of potatoes and turnips. But, as the Irish immigrated to America in the 1800s, they discovered pumpkins were much easier to carve into jack-o'-lanterns.
- Yummy Pumpkin Flowers. The pretty yellow flowers that grow on a pumpkin vine are edible just like the pumpkins.
- Pumpkins Like a Cool, Dark Place. Pumpkins that haven't been carved can be stored for up to three months. They need to be stored in a dark, cool and dry place like a shed or cellar. Just imagine having pumpkin in January!
- Hundreds of Pumpkins. There are hundreds of varieties of pumpkins available. The Kakai, Cinderella, Crown Prince, Lakota, and Autumn Gold are just a few examples.
- Pumpkins Are Good for Your Hearing. As we get older, our potassium levels can drop. Low potassium levels can be responsible for hearing loss. Pumpkins contain lots of potassium and they're delicious to boot!
- Pumpkin Tall Tales. At one time it was believed that a pumpkin could cure a snake bite. Not true. It was also thought that rubbing pumpkin flesh on freckles could get rid of them. No, but that can definitely make your face smell like a pumpkin.
- Farm Animals Love Pumpkins. Have you ever wondered what happens to all of the leftover pumpkins at the local pumpkin farm? Well, they are most likely fed to local farm animals. Pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, cows, dogs, and ducks are just some of the farm animals that love to dine on leftover pumpkins.
- Pumpkin Trivia. Many people think pumpkins are vegetables. Perhaps this is because they are often pictured alongside vegetables. But pumpkin is a fruit. Remember that for your next trivia game.
- Pumpkin Spice Without the Pumpkin. Pumpkin spice flavor is everywhere this time of year. It's in coffee, ice cream, donuts and more. But pumpkin spice doesn't have any pumpkin flavor in it. Pumpkin spice is actually a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
I hope you learned a few new things about this beloved autumn favorite. Thanks for reading. - Alan