Orange County Insight October 2021

Fall Pumpkins

By Jill Wong, Unit Support Staff, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Orange Office

There is a crispness to the air, beautiful colors are peeping from trees, and front porches are abound with large pumpkins, gourds, and mums. The fall season is a favorite for many. Finally wearing cozy sweaters, sitting by the fire, weaving our way through the many corn mazes, and searching for the perfect pumpkins for decorating!

Here are a few fun facts about pumpkins, that quite frankly, I have never thought about (https://

• The name pumpkin comes from the Greek word ‘ pepon ’, meaning ‘ large melon ’. • Pumpkins have thick shells which contain pulp and seeds. • Scientifically speaking, pumpkins are a fruit (they contain seeds) but when it comes to cooking, they are often referred to as vegetables. • Pumpkins are usually shaped like a sphere (ball). • They vary in weight but an average sized pumpkin might weigh around 13 pounds (6 kilograms). • Giant pumpkins can be grown for competitions, with some weighing over 1000 pounds (450 kilograms)! In 2010, the world record was 1,810 pounds! That ’ s huge!! • Pumpkin plants feature both male and female flowers, with bees typically being involved in pollination (the transfer of pollen). • Over 1 billion pounds (450 million kgs) of pumpkin are produced in the US every year. • As a food, pumpkin can be baked, roasted, steamed, or boiled. • Pumpkin soup is popular, as are roasted pumpkin seeds. • Pumpkin pie is a sweet dessert that originates in North America and is traditionally eaten during harvest time and holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. • Pumpkins are popular decorations during Halloween. A carved pumpkin illuminated by candles is known as a ‘ jack - o - lantern ’. The tradition is believed to have come from Ireland, where they used to carve faces into turnips, beet, and other root vegetables as part of the Gaelic festival of Samhain. • 100 grams of pumpkin produces around 26 calories of energy.

What is your favorite recipe using pumpkin? A quick and easy dip, perfect for a get together or for a light snack follows on the next page.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Page 19 | October, 2021

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