This month’s cool nights and warm sunny days make it the most popular month for pumpkin picking! In fact, according to the University of Illinois Extension, 80% of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October. Pumpkins for Halloween are planted in May because they are a warm-soil vegetable. Here are more fascinating facts about pumpkins from the University’s website:
• The top pumpkin production states are Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and California.
• Pumpkins are grown primarily for processing with a small percentage grown for ornamental sales through you-pick farms, farmers' market and retail sales.
• Around 90 to 95% of the processed pumpkins in the United States are grown in Illinois.
• 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 originated in Central America.
• In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
• The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds.
• The name pumpkin originated from "pepon" – the Greek word for "large melon."
• Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
• Pumpkins are fruit.
For more pumpkin info, you can go to www.urbanext.illinois.edu/pumpkins