Pumpkin History

From: Some Food For Thought Newsletter
By: Sonya G. Patterson, Caswell County FCS Agent

References to pumpkins date back many centuries. The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for “large melon” which is “pepon.” “Pepon” was nasalized by the French into “pompon.” The English changed “pompon” to “pumpion.” Shakespeare referred to the “pumpion” into “pumpkin.” The “pumpkin” is referred to in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater and Cinderella.

Native American dried strips of pumpkin and wove them into mats. They also roasted long strips of pumpkin on the open fire and ate them. The origin of pumpkin pie occurred when the colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in hot ashes.

Pumpkin Facts

  • Pumpkin seeds can be roasted as a snack.
  • Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.
  • Pumpkins are used for feed for animals.
  • Pumpkin flowers are edible.
  • Pumpkins are used to make soups, pies, and breads.
  • The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.
  • Pumpkins are members of the vine crops family called cucurbits.
  • Pumpkins originated in Central America.
  • In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
  • Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
  • Pumpkins range in size from less than a pound to over 1,000 pounds.
  • The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds.
  • The Connecticut field variety is the traditional American pumpkin.
  • Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
  • Pumpkins are fruit.
  • Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.
  • Native Americans called pumpkins “isqoutm squash.”
  • Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine.
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