Pumpkin Facts

Here are some interesting facts about pumpkins.

  • Native Americans ate pumpkins long before the Pilgrims landed, and they were used in Mexico as long ago as 7,000 BC.
  • The name ‘pumpkin’ comes from the Greek for large melon.
  • The pumpkin is a member of the cucumber and squash family, and is considered to be a fruit as it has seeds. They are grown in every continent except Antarctica.
  • Pumpkins can be yellow, green, red or white as well as orange. They have both male and female flowers, and bees transfer the pollen between the plants.
  • Morton, Illinois in the US is known for its annual pumpkin festival, held annually since the early 1900s. One of the most popular events involves throwing a pumpkin as far as possible.
  • Pumpkins contain 90 percent water, as well as Vitamin A and potassium. The flowers of the pumpkin fruit are edible and the seeds can be planted to grow a new fruit.
  • One of the heaviest pumpkins ever grown weighed 821 kg. In 2010, a pumpkin pie weighing 1664 kg and measuring almost 8 metres across, was baked.
  • Pumpkins are used to make soups and breads, as well as pies. In Colonial America, they were used for the pie crust instead of the filling, and Native Americans used dried pumpkin for floor mats.
  • About 80 percent of all pumpkins are produced and sold during the few weeks leading up to Halloween. After Christmas, Halloween is the most commercially successful holiday in the United States.
  • The ancient Celts carved gourds or turnips, and later pumpkins, to protect against evil spirits. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, where Jack O’Lanterns became part of Halloween celebrations.
  • Native Americans used the seeds for both food and medicine. At one time, they were used for curing snake bites, removing freckles and they are used today to treat skin diseases and other ailments.

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