a parade of pumpkin
pumpkin primer
The pumpkin is a member of the gourd (Cucurbitaceae) family, which consists of more than 500 species of tendril-bearing and fruit or vegetable-producing vines, such as cucumber and cantaloupe. The six species we call “pumpkin” are varieties of squash in the Cucurbita genus, all of which are indigenous to the Americas. While we generally treat these gourds as vegetables, we sometimes debate whether pumpkin is a vegetable or fruit. Here’s your chance to settle the argument once and for all: technically, by definition, the pumpkin is a fruit, more specifically a berry—one that can weigh just a few ounces or more than 1,000 pounds.
As they say in real estate, location is everything when it comes to a pumpkin patch because it determines what species will be picked. Not all pumpkins are orange; they
can be yellow, red, green, blue or white, with some displaying variegated shell patterns. The pumpkin commonly used for pies and porch décor is the Cucurbita pepo, a northeastern American species that can weigh up to 18 pounds and is characterized by a bright orange, ridged shell and firm flesh. Another northern species is C. maximus, which is closely related to the banana but can be white or blue in color. As the name suggests, these are the big boys and the model for the Great Pumpkin that Charlie Brown pines for every Halloween. The southern cheese pumpkin (C. moschata) is closely related to the butternut squash, tan in color and so-called because it resembles a wheel of cheese. Finally, there’s C. argyrosperma, the southwestern S-shaped species that sports white and green stripes.

[ A Parade of Pumpkin: Before Pumpkin Was Pie ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

a. pumpkinshire

In North America, the pumpkin is recognized as a symbol of abundance and a bountiful fall harvest. But the custard-like creation brought to the table in a flaky crust has more humble yet life-saving beginnings.

European settlers had never encountered the pumpkin until introduced by Native Americans at one of the early harvest feasts that eventually evolved into America’s Thanksgiving holiday. After half of the Pilgrim population perished in the harsh winter of 1621, natives showed the survivors how to boost pumpkin production by using herring as fertilizer and planting the vines in-between rows of corn‐a lesson in community building and companion planting.

The following year, Governor William Bradford decreed there would be even more pumpkins planted and the “berry” became a major source of food from that point on. So much so that Boston, a busy port of trade, was dubbed Pumpkinshire. The Pilgrims even figured out how to make flour from dried pumpkin. It became such a table staple that one traveling preacher was overheard to earnestly pray, "Dear Lord, give me just one good meal without pumpkin." [ A Parade of Pumpkin: Pumpkinshire ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

[ A Parade of Pumpkin: Pumpkin Particulars ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

b. bits and pieces

  • If you panic at the sight of a pumpkin you might be suffering from apocolocynposis, the fear of turning into a pumpkin.
  • More than 1 billion pounds of pumpkin are produced annually in the U.S., with the state of Illinois leading the pack, followed by California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan.
  • Morton, Illinois, where Libby’s pumpkin cannery processes more than 85% of the world’s canned pumpkin, is the self-proclaimed Pumpkin Capital of the World.
  • Punkin’ Chunkin’ is annual competition in which the goal is to hurl your pumpkin the farthest by mechanical means. The team at American Chunker, Inc. not only managed to take the 2013 World Championship to become the “Lords of the Gourd,” but also set a world record with a 4,694.68-foot pumpkin punt.
  • A cup of pumpkin puree is loaded with fiber and beta-carotene with only 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.
  • A pumpkin acts as its own serving dish. In fact, the first pumpkin pies were simply scooped out shells filled with milk and roasted until most of the liquid was absorbed.
  • Pumpkin flowers are excellent tossed into salads, stuffed with cheese or battered and deep-fried like fritters.
  • Bruised or crushed pumpkin leaves repel flies.

pumpkin spice mix recipe pumpkin spice mix recipe

pumpkin spice mix recipe