All About the Big Orange Fruit


 Country Moon


From pumpkin pie to jack-o’-lanterns, the pumpkin exemplifies fall in all its glory. Of all the seasons, fall is the fun season, with not a lot of emotions attached to it except lighthearted good cheer. A big orange pumpkin just plain makes you smile whether you bake it, carve it, smash it or hurl it.

Pumpkins are actually a fruit, which is defined as being part of the plant that contain seeds. On top of that, pumpkins are technically squash, being members of the curcubit family, which encompasses pumpkins, gourds, squash, watermelons and cucumber. They come in a multitude of shapes, sizes and colors.

Every part is edible; the skin, leaves, flowers, pulp, seeds and even the stem. They are made up of 90 percent water, so they are low in calories; one cup of mashed pumpkin has only 49 calories and one-half gram of fat. They have more fiber than kale, more potassium than bananas, and are high in fiber and low in sodium. The seeds are high in beta carotene and antioxidants, which help delay aging and protect the heart and the body against cancer. On top of this, they taste good!

They have actually been around for 5,000 years. A French explorer in 1584 called them “gros melons,” which meant large melons. It wasn’t until the 17th century that they started being referred to as pumpkins. They have since come to be fall’s favorite décor and most crafty food.

I recently saw fields near Connorsville, Indiana, that were literally “blooming” with pumpkins. These fields were no small fries, instead they were 250-acre fields and all the pumpkins raised here will go for fall decorating and Halloween. Combined spending for fall decorating and Halloween is second only to Christmas; pumpkins are big business!

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