Whether you’re carving it into a jack o’-lantern, or baking it into a pie, pumpkins offer plenty of fall fun. This colorful crop is decorative and edible. Carve out some time to read these facts about pumpkins:
- Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and California are the top pumpkin producing states. In 2008, these states alone produced 1.1 billion pounds, or $141 million.
- Most pumpkins are grown to be processed, while a small percentage are grown for decoration and sold at you-pick farms or farmer’s markets.
- Pumpkins are a source of potassium and vitamin A.
- The largest pumpkin on record was 1,140 pounds.
- Pumpkins are 90 percent water and part of the Cucurbitaceae family. They are related to squash and gourds.
- The largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed over 350 pounds. This record breaking pastry required 80 pounds of pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and baked for six hours.
- Colonists originally carved out the inside of the pumpkin to be filled it with milk, spices and honey and baked in the ashes of the fire.
- Besides pies, pumpkins can also be used in soups, cakes and bread. The seeds can be roasted and salted for a quick snack.
- People used to think pumpkins could remove freckles and cure snake bites.