Most people just think of pumpkins as decorations or something to cook with, but they actually have a lot of health benefits and are more than just jack o lanterns. Here are some things you may not know about pumpkins!
Interesting facts about pumpkins
The pumpkin has a very long and rich history. What follows are several fun (and interesting) pumpkin-related facts. Many of them will no doubt surprise you!
- Pumpkins are members of the gourd family, along with watermelons, honeydew and zucchini.
- Pumpkins are actually a fruit. But, just like tomatoes, they often get lumped in with vegetables because of the way they’re used in cooking.
- You can grow pumpkins almost anywhere in the world. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
- Every part of the pumpkin including the leaves, seeds and flowers are edible.
- Pumpkins are comprised of 90 percent water. This means they’re low in both fat and calories.
- Pumpkins are a source of several vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to stay healthy. This includes Vitamin A, Vitamin B and potassium.
- It takes between 90 and 120 days for a pumpkin to grow to full size from a seed. This means they are typically ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving, when you plant them at the beginning of June.
- 90 percent of the pumpkins, grown in the United States each year, are ready to harvest just in time for Halloween.
- While most pumpkins are orange, some varieties are red, white and even green.
- While pumpkin pie is the most popular way to eat pumpkin, you can use them in all kinds of dishes like pumpkin soup and steamed pumpkin.
- The average pumpkin weighs around 10 pounds. However, farmers have produced massive pumpkins weighing in at well over 1, 000 pounds!
- The Halloween tradition of carving spooky jack-o’-lanterns out of pumpkins is believed to come from an Irish tradition of carving faces on potatoes and turnips.
- As surprising as this may sound, Colonial Americans used pumpkin as a pie crust ingredient… not a filling.
- The smallish town of Morton, Illinois has the distinction of being the “pumpkin capital” of the world. It’s where the Libby Corporation is located.
- At one time, Native Americans were very dependent on pumpkins. They both ate the seeds and used them as a form of medicine. They use dried strips of pumpkin to make mats.
Things to do with pumpkins
In addition to cooking and baking with pumpkins, there are plenty of other fun things you can do with them. If you have kids in the house, why not have a pumpkin painting party? Grab some paints and brushes and let your family create their own unique designs.
You could also try making mini planters out of pumpkins for a whimsical touch to your home decor. Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not attempt one of the many creative jack-o-lantern designs that can be found online – just make sure to use a sharp knife when carving! With so many possibilities, no two pumpkins ever need to be alike!
- Fun and Unique Not Carving Pumpkin Decor Ideas
- FREE Printable Halloween Pumpkin Stencil Templates
- No Carve Pumpkin Ideas – DIY and Kid Friendly
- 15 Fun and Unique Pumpkin Decor Ideas
Recipes using pumpkin
Nothing is better than using the inside of a pumpkin you carve for Halloween. Much better than just throwing it away!
If you are bored of the plain ol pumpkin pie, try bars, or muffins. There are a zillion recipes using pumpkin. Here are some of our favorites…
- Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Pumpkin Soup
- Pumpkin Fudge
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- Pumpkin Pancakes
- Pumpkin Muffins
- Pumpkin Milkshake
What does pumpkin plants look like?
Pumpkin plants are usually sprawling, and have hairy stems with long tendrils that help them climb. Leaves of the pumpkin plant are typically divided into three to five lobes, and may resemble a large, notched leaf or a hand-like shape.
The flowers of the pumpkin plant are yellow in color, and the pumpkins themselves usually range from light green to dark orange. The size of pumpkins can vary greatly and depend on variety, but generally measure between 10–25 cm in diameter and weigh between 1–9 kg.
What are the health benefits of pumpkins?
Pumpkins are packed full of Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which is an essential nutrient for healthy eyesight. They’re also high in fiber which helps digestion, and can help lower cholesterol levels. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc and magnesium, which can help promote better mental health as well as reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Another great thing about pumpkins is that they’re low in calories yet filling, making them a great snack if you’re trying to watch your weight or eat healthier. Finally, pumpkin puree is an excellent substitute for butter or oil when baking treats like muffins or cakes since it adds moisture without all the fat.