Though our pumpkin headed, toddler-sized scarecrow, "Pumpkinelope" has been sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch for over a week now, we won't head out to get our carving pumpkin until tomorrow.
The heat and moisture are so high here in Florida, I didn't want to put out a Jack-O-Lantern too early, lest it become a real fright by rotting right in front of us and before Halloween.
So, in honor of the scraping, carving, and lighting to come, a few pumpkin facts for you:
- Pumpkin is tremendously good for you - its bright orange flesh is a clue to the large amounts of beta carotene (vitamin A) inside. It is also rich in potassium, fiber, Vitamin C, E, and K. Click on these links for a good pumpkin soup recipe and instructions on pumpkin seed roasting.
- The top pumpkin-producing states are California, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (listed in alphabetical order). They produced 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkins last year. Source
- Each year, growers compete for the title of growing the world’s largest pumpkin. The largest recorded pumpkin grown was on October 1, 2005 at the Pennsylvania Giant Pumpkin Growers Weighoff. It weighed in at 1,469 pounds, breaking all previous world records. It was grown by Larry Checkon of North Cambria, Penn. Source
- American colonists sliced off pumpkin tops, removed the seeds, and filled the pumpkins with milk, spices, and honey. They then baked the entire pumpkin in hot ashes to make a dessert. Source
- Pumpkins (which are biologically a fruit, not a vegetable, because they bear the seeds of the plant) are a member of the squash family, cousins to gourds, zucchini, and cucumbers.
- The carving of jack-o'-lanterns originated from the tradition of carving the faces of lost souls into hollowed out pumpkins and turnips. A candle was placed inside the carvings making the faces glow. The Halloween lanterns were placed on doorsteps to ward off evil spirits. Source
Happy Halloween to all! Be sure to send in photos of your carving art - I'd love to post them!
One of these days, the perfect pumpkin will pose for my camera and I'll add its orangey awesomeness to the gallery collection. Check out the other oranges in the Orange Gallery.