In the United States, pumpkins take center stage every year during Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations. They are seen as the grinning Jack-o-lanterns decorating the front porch of almost every American household on All Hallows Eve; and, are eaten as the main component of the pumpkin pie, a dessert often found on everyone’s Thanksgiving dinner menu. However, there is more to the pumpkin than just being a pie ingredient or a holiday décor. It is a well-loved fruit for a variety of reasons, as these interesting facts would show.
- Pumpkins are very hardy plants that can grow almost everywhere. The only continent where pumpkins are not grown is Antarctica.
- The pumpkin plant is native to North America. Pumpkins were already a diet staple for the Native Americans before the first European settlers arrived. The Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus, brought pumpkin seeds with him on his return voyage from America to Europe.
- In the plant kingdom, the pumpkin’s close relatives include squash, zucchini and cucumbers since they all belong to the Cucurbita family.
- The average weight of the pumpkin is 13 pounds. However, the heaviest pumpkin ever recorded was grown by a Swiss gardener, and weighed more than 2,300 pounds.
- Water accounts for most of the pumpkin’s weight, as the fruit is 90% water.
- The approximate number of seeds inside an average-sized pumpkin is 500.
- Although the pumpkins that most people are familiar with are orange in color, there are lesser-known plant varieties that bear white, green, orange or red-colored fruits.
- Pumpkins are very nutritious, containing significant amounts of potassium as well as Vitamins A and B. They are also high in fiber and low in fat and sodium.
- The earliest version of pumpkin pie was made by filling the insides of a pumpkin with a mixture of milk, honey and spices, and cooking it over hot ashes.
- Pumpkin blossoms are edible. They are delicious when added to soups and pasta dishes; stuffed and baked, or coated in batter and deep friend.
- Roasted pumpkin seeds are ideal for snacking. The seeds are a very good source of protein and the essential mineral, zinc, which helps in preventing prostate cancer.
- In the early days, pumpkin was a recommended treatment for snakebites and was believed to clear freckles.
- English, Irish and Scottish immigrants were responsible for introducing the Halloween tradition of pumpkin carving to North America. The Europeans previously did the carvings on turnips, potatoes and beets; but shifted to pumpkins not only because they were larger and easier to carve but they were also more abundant.
Lissa is someone who believes that a life well-lived is one that is full of gratitude. The most important lesson she has learned from life is that there is always something to be grateful for, no matter how dire circumstances may be. As a way of showing appreciation for life, she seeks to sow positivity, with the hope that others might be inspired to share happiness as well.