21 Oct

Spotlight on … Pumpkins

Fruit or vegetable? Pumpkins are fruits and are part of the gourd family, along with squash and cucumbers.

The “pumpkin capital of the world” is Morton, Ill. It holds its annual Morton Pumpkin Festival in mid-September.

Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October, just in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Irish immigrants brought the tradition of carving jack-o’-lanterns to the United States hundreds of years ago. They used turnips or potatoes in their native country, but found the American pumpkin was larger and easier to carve.

Early United States settlers made pumpkin pie by filling a hollowed out pumpkin shell with milk, honey and spices, then baking it.

Pumpkins are high in fiber and a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and iron. They are “gourd” for you!

Sources: History.com, Pumpkin-patch.com, Pumpkinnook.com, Morton Chamber of Commerce.