Native Village Youth and Education News
November, 2009  Volume 3

Pumpkins: more than pie and for carving
 Lacee Solis
Condensed by Native Village

World's  Largest Pumplin

The pumpkin takes center stage during fall harvest. It is a squash that belongs to the gourd family and can range in size from less than 1 pound to over 1,000 pounds. While it is popular for carving into Jack-o-Lanterns, the pumpkin’s history proves it’s good for more than just decorating

The pumpkin has been grown by North America's Native peoples for 5,000 years and was a vitally important part of their diets.  When colonists arrived, they quickly adopted the versatile fruit to their menu. 

Fresh pumpkins are perfect for pies, soups, and breads and savory dishes. They have only 49 calories per cup, are high in fiber, and are a good source of potassium, iron and protein.

Six of the seven continents are able to grow pumpkins, with the exception of Antarctica. The top states in the U.S. for producing pumpkins are Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.

The world record for the largest pumpkin is 1, 725 pounds. It was grown by two Ohio pumpkin growers.

The largest pumpkin pie in the Guinness World Records was 12-feet long and 2,020 pounds, It was made by  New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers from Ohio.


Cooking pumpkins

Since pumpkins are 90% water, the larger pumpkins used for decoration are less flavorful.

Smaller pumpkins known as a “pie pumpkins” or “sugar pumpkins,” are best  to cook with.

Pumpkin can be roasted, mashed, or pureed.

Pumpkin pie may have begun with the colonial practice of slicing off the pumpkin tip, filling the hollowed pumpkin with milk, spices and honey and then baking it in hot ashes.

One way to prepare pumpkin is to cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh, then place it cut side down in a roasting pan with 1/2 cup water. Bake at 350 degrees until tender. Remove the shell and enjoy.

Pumpkin seeds can be rinsed, dried, and roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.


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