National Pumpkin Day

October 26, 2016 is National Pumpkin Day!

Pumpkins are the harbinger of the harvest season, appearing every year as the first sign of autumn. Did you know that the word “pumpkin” comes from the Greek word “pepon,” meaning “large melon”?

Pumpkins can be grown on every continent except Antarctica, and the United States produces about 1.5 billion pounds of them each year. A Wisconsin farmer grew the largest pumpkin ever recorded. He used seaweed, cow manure, and fish emulsion to grow his pumpkin, which weighed a total of 1,810 pounds and was the size of a dumpster!

Celebrate National Pumpkin Day by carving a pumpkin in time for Halloween. Don’t forget to bake the tasty seeds for a healthy, autumn snack!

pumpkinsPumpkin Trivia

  • Pumpkins are grown on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Pumpkins are 90% water.
  • If your pumpkin shrivels up, soak it in water overnight to rehydrate it.
  • Pumpkins were once used for removing freckles and treating snake bites.
  • Pumpkins have high levels of lutein, alpha carotene, and beta-carotene that are responsible for the orange coloring and for transforming vitamin A in the body.
  • Pumpkin pulp can relieve burns.
  • Pumpkin flowers are edible.
  • Colonists sliced off pumpkin tops, removed the seeds, and filled them with milk, spices and honey. The milk-filled pumpkin was then placed in hot ashes to bake. This is the origin of our pumpkin pie.
  • Native to the Western Hemisphere, Central America specifically, pumpkins were originally used as a food crop.
  • Settlers to the New World sent pumpkin seeds back to their English relatives where the new seeds and fruit rapidly became popular.
  • During the Halloween season, about 99% of the pumpkins grown for domestic consumption are earmarked for the sole purpose of carving.
  • In Ireland, the original jack-o’-lanterns were made of hollowed-out turnips.  Turnips were plentiful throughout the British Isles.
  • Morton, IL is the self-declared pumpkin capital of the world.  It is the home of the Libby® corporation’s pumpkin industry, owned by NESTLÉ® USA.  The pumpkin packing facility prepares 90% of all processed and canned pumpkin consumed in the United States.

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