The Pumpkin is a member of the gourd family (cucurbits) and is
native to Central America and Mexico. Pumpkins have been
cultivated since at least 7,000 B.C.
China leads the world in pumpkin production with 6.3 million
metric tons annually. India (3.5 million tons), Russian (950,000
tons), the U.S., (750,000 tons) and Egypt (650,000 tons) round out
the top five pumpkin producers.
The total U.S. pumpkin production (2008 stats) is valued at
around 141 million. The top five producing states are Ohio, New
York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and California (in that order).
Pumpkin flowers are edible.
Pumpkins are 90% water.
Pumpkins were once thought to clear freckles and cure snakebites.
Christopher Columbus carried pumpkin seeds on his return trips
Pumpkin carving (i.e. Jack o'Lanterns) is thought to have
originiated from Irish immigrants to Americal. People in Ireland
would carve faces in turnips, in an effort to keep evil spirits away.
However, Irish immigrants switched to pumpkins, which are
much easier to carve.
Early European colonists in America would hollow out a pumpkin
and fill it with apples, spices, sugar, milk and honey for baking.
This is thought to be the forerunner to today's pumpkin pie.
The first cookbook written and published in America (Amelia
Simmons' "American Cookery", 1796) contained the first written
recipe for pumpkin pie.
The word "pumpkin" is thought to be derived from "pepon," the
Greek word for "large melon."
The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed in at 1,818.5 pounds and
was grown in Quebec, Canada in 2011.
The largest pumpkin pie every made weighed over 350 pounds and
was over 5 feet in diameter. Over 80 pounds of pumpkins used to
make the filling.