Now that we are partway through October, you're probably seeing more pumpkins around your neighborhood, at the farmers' market, or even piled up in front of the local grocery store. There's a good chance you're going to grab a few pumpkins for your family this fall: Maybe you'll carve a few jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween or put aside some as décor for your Thanksgiving dinner table. No matter how you use your pumpkins, there are some facts about these friendly signs of autumn that you may not know. This week, I found some fun facts about pumpkins that may surprise you. Enjoy!
15 Fun Facts About Pumpkins
- Full Moon, Jack-Be-Quick, La Estrella, and Old Zebs are just a few examples of the 45-plus varieties of pumpkins. There is even a white pumpkin called Cotton Candy.
- The pumpkin capital of the world is Morton, Illinois, and 95% of the pumpkins grown in our country come from Illinois.
- A pumpkin can contain about 500 seeds. The average pumpkin provides approximately one cup of seeds.
- In 2016, a Belgian man grew a pumpkin weighing a record-setting 2,625 pounds!
- Sometimes, pumpkins are mistakenly categorized as vegetables, but actually, pumpkins are fruit. They are a type of squash.
- Pumpkins were once used to get rid of freckles and treat snakebites.
- Pumpkin pie is the second favorite of Americans after apple pie.
- Native Americans referred to pumpkins as Isqoutm squash. The Greeks referred to pumpkins as pepons. Eventually, the word "pepon" morphed into the word "pumpkin."
- Antarctica is the only continent where pumpkins don't grow. I guess pumpkins aren't too crazy about the minus-60-degree temperatures in Antarctica at this time of year. I don't blame them!
- When most people think of a pumpkin, they usually picture an orange one, but pumpkins can also be green, red, white, or yellow.
- Pumpkins can be steamed, roasted, baked, or even boiled. I like roasting pumpkin seeds in olive oil and sprinkling them with a little salt. Roasting pumpkin seeds is a fun activity you can share with your children or grandchildren after they are done carving their jack-o'-lanterns.
- The pilgrims made pumpkin beer by fermenting maple sugar, pumpkin, hops, and persimmons.
- The word pumpkin first appeared in the fairytale Cinderella. It served as the perfect fruit for Cinderella's fairy godmother to transform into a carriage.
- The Irish used to carve potatoes and turnips at Halloween and put burning coals into them instead of candles. Later, Europeans started to carve pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns.
- We produce 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin in our country each year.
If you want to keep your carved pumpkin looking great until Halloween, try smearing petroleum jelly or vegetable oil onto its insides. This will help it to stay moist. Also, put a moist towel over your pumpkin during the day, or at least move it out of the direct sunlight. You may even want to wait to carve your jack-o'-lanterns so there is less time for them to spoil in the outdoor air.
Have some fun this Halloween, and thanks for reading. - Alan