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Everything About Pumpkins!

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Check for a firm stem to ensure you get a fresh pumpkin!

Pumpkins are believed to have orginated in North America. Seeds have been found dating back 7,000 years.

Native Americans used pumpkins as a staple in their diets well before the Pilgrims landed. When the Pilgrims saw the Native Americans growing and harvesting pumpkins, they adopted the practice.

Pumpkins are in the same plant family (cucurbita family) as cucumbers and zucchini.

The Irish brought the tradition of carving turnips and potatoes to America and soon discovered that carving pumpkins, which have fleshier fruit, was easier.

Pumpkins are rich in Vitamin A and high in fiber.

Pumpkins are as much a symbol of Thanksgiving as Halloween. Pumpkins have been used for indoor decoration for hundreds of years.

Giant pumpkins are known as Atlantic Giants.

How to choose the right pumpkin:

  1. Make sure your pumpking is firm. Physically inspect your pumpkin especially on the bottom where the pumpkin may have been sitting on display or sitting in the field.
  2. Check for any discoloration or darker shades of orange. These areas may turn into soft spots.
  3. Make sure your pumpkin has a nice strong green handle (stem). This not only makes the pumpkin look good, but is also an indication of freshness.

How to keep your pumpkin looking good:

  1. For long term storage, wash your pumpkin in a very mild chlorine solution. This will destroy bacteria which may cause fruit to rot.
  2. Protect your pumpking from freezing.
  3. Avoid warm weather and humidity.
  4. Place your pumpkin on a sheet of cardboard rather than cement. They tend to rot quicker on cement.
  5. Never hold your pumpkin by the stem.

Some unique uses for pumpkins: (shop online for tools and templates!)
As mentioned earlier, pumpkins have been as much a part of Thanksgiving dinner as well as Halloween. This dates back to the Pilgrims, so don't be afraid to decorate your Thanksgiving table with beautiful, oversized, bright pumpkins.

  1. Or, you could: Hollow out your perfect sized pumpkin and serve your favorite soup or gravy out of this natural bowl.
  2. Hollow out your pumpkin and use it as a table flower vase.
  3. Hollow out your pumpkin and plant with fall pansies and flowers. Glue some bright red fall leaves for extra harvest flair.
  4. Use a garden stake and create a pumpkin tier.
  5. Instead of carving, try etching some creative designs into your pumpkin.
  6. Create a candle holder.
  • Pumpkin Carving Tips (shop online for tools and templates!)
  • Draw your design on the pumpkin with a water-based marker beforehand
  • Cut out the top and any large areas with a sharp, straight-edged knife
  • Carve away from yourself; kids should carve only under adult supervision
  • Never hold the knife in a stabbing position
  • When carving, keep a portion of the knife blade in the pumpkin and use slow, steady saw strokes
  • Cut the lid at an angle so the outside diameter is larger than the inside. This prevents the top from falling into the pumkin when it shrinks
  • Scoop out seeds and stringy flesh with a large spoon
  • Carve the facial features closest to the center first and work outward. Cut out the larger features in sections to reduce the chance of damaging your pumpkin
  • Use an X-acto knife (being very careful not to cut yourself) for details and the tip of a potato peeler to make small circles and curves
  • Remove carved portions by gently pushing them into or out of the pumpkin
  • Re-attach a section that is accidentally removed by using a toothpick to pin back in place
  • Make design holes large enough to provide air for the candle flame
  • Flatten a spot in the base of the pumkin for the candle, but avoid digging too deep because the pumkin becomes prone to rot