By, Jo Carol Hebert
It’s that time of the year again. A time for Pumpkins!
You probably know that in October, lots of people carve a face on a pumpkin. And, you probably have tasted a pumpkin pie. But, what else is there to know about a pumpkin?
Well, I’m so glad you asked!
Did You Know?
- A pumpkin is a fruit
- The heaviest pumpkin weighed 2,600 pounds (Germany)
- The largest pumpkin pie weighed 3,699 pounds (Ohio, USA)
- Each pumpkin has 500 seeds
- Pumpkins can also be red, yellow, white, and green
Famous Pumpkins in Literature
The word, pumpkin, was first used in the Cinderella fairy tale. Do you remember what the pumpkin was?
Yes! Cinderella’s fairy godmother turned a pumpkin into a carriage for the mice (which were turned into horses) to pull the carriage to the Ball – where she met the Prince and they fell in love and were married and lived happily ever after!
But, that’s another story.
And, another famous pumpkin is in the very scary story of Ichabod Crane, where a ‘headless horseman’ in black chases him through the woods and throws a pumpkin at him and Ichabod is never seen again!
Gros Melon? That’s Still a Pumpkin!
Before a pumpkin was a called a pumpkin, it was called a ‘gros melon’ by a Frenchman in 1584. The English, who have a way with words, called them ‘pompions’, which turned into “pumpkin.”
Before we carved pumpkins, the people of Ireland made ‘Jack-o-Lantern’ candles out of large beets or turnips and lit them. When they came to the New World, they found the pumpkin made a much better Jack-o-Lantern.
In the United States alone, 8,000,000,000 pumpkins are ready in October, mostly in the state of Illinois.
It takes a pumpkin 90-120 days to grow, so don’t stand there waiting for it to be ready to carve.
There was a Pumpkin Launch in Delaware where pumpkins were shot out of air cannons. They sailed through the air for 5,000 ft.
There are 45 different varieties of pumpkin, with one named Cotton Candy and another, Orange Smoothie.
The pumpkin is 90% water and full of good things for a healthy body.
A Pumpkin is a Fruit?!
Correct. Because the whole thing is edible – skin (rind), leaves, pulp inside, seeds, and the stem.
But pumpkins are best when squished up with sugar, spices, butter, and baked in a pastry shell. There is also pumpkin coffee, pumpkin cereal, and even pumpkin dog treats.
Australians like to roast the Butternut pumpkin in meat juices.
The Dutch people of Holland use pumpkins mainly for decoration and contests for the biggest.
Switzerland makes a ‘gnocchi’, a small ball of pumpkin and flour boiled.
South China likes pumpkin soups and baked pumpkin seeds, or as a vegetable dish and as a medicine.
A Pumpkin By Any Other Name…
Check out these names for pumpkins in other languages.
- Africa – pampoen
- India – kaddu
- China – nangua
- Italian – zucca
- Germany – kuerbis
- Japan – kabocha
- Holland – pompoen
- Native American – askutasquash
If you know anything else about this orange fruit that we missed – let us know!
ART – Print and Paint a Big Pumpkin
Here’s a fun pumpkin craft you can try at home.
Step #1 – Print the pdf Pumpkin Coloring Page
Step #2 – Mix Red and Yellow to make Orange.
Step #3 – Draw some green leaves on the stem.
Step #4 – Color the space around the pumpkin. Or draw a ‘Jack-o-Lantern.
We hope you enjoyed our exploration through the pumpkin! Tell us your thoughts about this giant fruit in the comments section!