A pumpkin is an orange coloured cultivar of the squash plant and like any other squash; they are native to North America. It is a member of cucurbitaceae. They are widely used for eating, commercial and recreational purposes.
Who knew there is more to pumpkins than pumpkin pie!
Read on to know some fun facts about them-
1.Pumpkins are known to be originated in North America and have been growing there for around 5,000 years now. They are now grown in six out of seven continents. Even in Alaska! Antarctica is the only continent they won’t grow.
2.People from Morton, Illinois proudly call it the ‘pumpkin capital’ (yes, that’s a real thing) of the world. Only thing they won’t tell you is- it’s self proclaimed! It holds its annual Morton Pumpkin Festival in the second week of September. It is said that 85% of the world’s canned pumpkin is produced in Morton, earning it the designation “Pumpkin Capital of the World”.
3.The word ‘pumpkin’ was first coined in the fairy tail Cinderella. A french explorer in 1854 found them and referred to them as ‘gros melons’ which was translated in Latin as ‘pepon’. Pepon means large melon. Later, gradually the word gained its modern form- pumpkin.
4.The original jack-o’-lanterns were made with turnips and potatoes by the Irish.
In England, they used large beets and lit them with embers to ward off evil spirits. Irish immigrants brought their customs to America, but found that pumpkins were much easier to carve.
5.Pumpkins are very healthy eating option and therefore widely consumed. It contains 90% water and hence, contains very less calories, fat and sodium. It contains high amount of fibre and good source of iron, potassium, vitamin A and B.
6.The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed over 1,800 pounds and was more than 5 feet in diameter. It was presented in Minnesota in year 2010.
7.Pumpkins which are used as vegetables whilst cooking. But, they actually are fruits because they contain seeds.
8.Pumpkins are consumed by many means. For cooking, a raw pumpkin can be boiled, baked, steamed or roasted. For thanksgiving in Canada and America, it is a tradition to make pumpkin pie.
9.There are some crazy events revolving around pumpkins. To list some-Pumpkin chunking- it is a competition where teams design various machines to throw pumpkin as far as possible. Art and pumpkin festival- takes place in Half Moon Bay, California. It includes a world champion pumpkin weigh off to determine the largest pumpkin grown.
10.In the Harry Potter novels, pumpkin juice, a favorite drink of the students of Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is a recurring element. Did you notice that?