As we enter into the fall season, we’re starting to see pumpkins starting to pop up on porches for fall décor. A fairly new fall decoration trend you may have noticed is white pumpkins. Did you know there are other colors of pumpkins? Check out these pumpkin facts.
- The word pumpkin comes from the Greek word “pepon”, which means “a large melon.”
- Pumpkins originated in Central America.
- It is one of the oldest crops in the western hemisphere and has been grown and harvested since around 3500 B.C.
- Native Americans cultivated and ate pumpkins long before Pilgrims landed in North America. Pilgrims learned how to grow the fruit from the Native Americans.
- There are over 150 different varieties. They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors.
- Not only are there white, green, and yellow pumpkins, but there are also blue and red varieties.
- Ohio holds the world record for the largest pumpkin pie ever baked, weighing in at 3,699 pounds.
- White pumpkins are also known as the ghost pumpkin, albino pumpkin, Snowball, Casper, Cotton Candy pumpkin, and other nicknames.
- While white pumpkins have been around for a while, Brent Loy, a professor at the University of New Hampshire, successfully bred a white pumpkin with a sturdier stem than other white variety pumpkins.
- According to Statista, about 154 million Americans plan to carve pumpkins for Halloween in 2023.
- White pumpkins are orange on the inside.
- Orange pumpkins have thicker skin than white varieties.
- They are related to cantaloupes & watermelons.
- Illinois is the largest producer of pumpkins in the United States.
- In 2021, Illinois grew its pumpkin acreage to nearly 18,000 acres, producing double the number of pumpkins grown by other top states.
- Morton, Illinois is the self-proclaimed pumpkin capital of the world.
- Six states produce a majority of the pumpkins - Illinois, California, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
- In 2022, the top-producing states harvested over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins combined.
A 43-year-old Minnesota educator, Travis Gienger, grew the heaviest pumpkin on earth, weighing in at 2,749 pounds.
Photo credit: USA Today, Eric Risberg
- The tradition of carving pumpkins started in Ireland where they would carve faces into turnips to scare evil spirits away during Samhain, a Celtic holiday when it is believed spirits of the dead would walk to the earth.
- Early settlers would dry pumpkins shells, cut them into strips and wove them into mats.
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