It’s downright impossible to even contemplate the likes of Halloween or Thanksgiving without the notion or reality of pumpkins coming to mind.
In fact, for a fruit/vegetable (do you know which one it is) that is so much a part of the fabric of mid- to late fall, there’s actually quite a bit about pumpkins that you probably didn’t know.
Well, if it makes you feel any better, neither did we – until, that is, we undertook a little skullduggery on the internet. Here’s what we uncovered to both “amaze and delight” you (pumpkins are fruits, by the way, not vegetables):
- Pumpkins were not always pumpkins. According to our research, the original name for pumpkin was “pepon”, the Greek word for “large melon”. Later on, it morphed into “pompon” by the French only to have the English rename it the “pumpion”. (Is that sort of like a pumpkin and onion rolled into one?) The large orange fruit we know today as “pumpkin” was so dubbed by early American colonists and, all these hundreds of years later, the name has stuck.
- Whose idea was the jack-o’-lantern? For that answer, we travel back in time to Ireland where turnips, potatoes, beets, and such were carved and lit up to ward off evil spirits. Once Irish settlers started landing on the shores of America, they soon realized that it’s just plain easier to carve up a pumpkin. Plus, they reasoned, the bigger size was bound to be more effective in shooing evil spirits away from their premises.
- “Take this pumpkin and, if you don’t feel better, call me in the morning.” Back in the 1700’s, physicians prescribed pumpkin to cure a whole host of ailments and conditions – everything from a snake bite antidote to ridding one’s skin of freckles.
- Where would you start a pumpkin farm? Someplace where the growing conditions are just right, of course! And apparently they’re just right in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and California – the four largest pumpkin producing states in the country. Each year, more than 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin are harvested in the US.
- Step aside, pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie wasn’t always the favorite result of cooking up some of that delicious fruit. And neither were pumpkin breads, muffins, or even pumpkin flavored beer. Instead, and while it was still called pumpkin pie by European born American settlers, they would carve the middle, fill it with milk, honey, and spices, and then bake it. You know what? That’s one largely forgotten tradition that might be worth reviving.
And now you know, courtesy of your friends at Absolute Air where we wish you a happy and healthy fall season filled with tasty pumpkin treats.