By Duane Friend
Pumpkin season is here! For recipes and information on growing pumpkins, visit the University of Illinois Extension website, “Pumpkins and More” at https://web.extension.illinois.edu/pumpkins/.
Here are some interesting pumpkin facts:
- Pumpkins are grown primarily for processing.
- Around 90 to 95 percent of the processed pumpkins in the United States are grown in Illinois.
- The top ten pumpkin producing counties in Illinois are Tazewell, Kankakee, Mason, Logan, Will, Marshall, Kane, Pike, Carroll and Woodford.
- Pumpkins are used for feed for animals.
- Pumpkin flowers are edible.
- Pumpkins are members of the vine crops family called cucurbits.
- Pumpkins originated in Central America.
- In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
- Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
- The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds.
- The name pumpkin originated from “pepon,” the Greek word for “large melon.”
- The Connecticut field variety is the traditional American pumpkin.
- Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
- Pumpkins are fruit.
- Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.
- In colonial times, Native Americans roasted long strips of pumpkin in an open fire.
- Colonists sliced off pumpkin tops, then removed the seeds and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. This was baked in hot ashes and is the origin of pumpkin pie.
- Native Americans flattened strips of pumpkins, dried them and made mats.