7 Fun Facts for About Our Favorite Fall Fruit
Pumpkins are one of the most iconic symbols of fall. Whether you use them to decorate your front porch, paint them, carve them, drink them, or eat them, it seems we’re just about surrounded by pumpkins this time of year, so it only makes sense to learn a little bit more about these festive fall fruits.
1. Yes, a Pumpkin is a Fruit! Pumpkins have seeds, and are therefore considered a fruit. Challenge your kids to think of other foods they eat that contain seeds. Hint – apples, grapes, watermelon, and yes, even bananas have seeds! And, since a pumpkin is a fruit, it is edible. Pumpkin meat is used to make everything from pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread to meatballs, pancakes, chili, and soup!
2. They Come in All Shapes and Sizes! The bigger the pumpkin, the more meat inside, but pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from teeny tiny to prize-winning monsters. The average pumpkin weighs in at about 16 pounds, but the largest pumpkin ever recorded weighed a whopping 2300 pounds. In some countries, creative crafters carve these giant pumpkins into boats and actually race them!
3. They Also Come in a Rainbow of Colors! Think pumpkin and you probably think orange, but pumpkins also come in shades of red, yellow, blue, green, and white. Ask your kids if they can think of any other blue fruits. Hint – plums and blueberries are blue, too. Just like with leaves on trees, pumpkins slow their chlorophyll production as the days shorten and grow cooler, allowing the other pigments inside to shine through.
4. Pumpkins Are Both Male and Female! Like most fruits, pumpkin plants flower. What’s unique about a pumpkin is that a single pumpkin produces both male and female flowers. Bees and other insects carry the pollen from the male flower to the egg in the female flower to fertilize the tiny fruit attached to the flower and thus, a pumpkin is born!
5. You Can Grow Your Own! Growing pumpkins is fairly simple and you can definitely do it yourself. Simply rinse a few of the largest seeds from this year’s pumpkin, allow them to dry on a paper towel for about a week, then stash them away in an envelope inside a plastic container (punch holes in the top to avoid condensation) in the fridge. Northerners should plant the seeds in late May; Southerners closer to the end of July. Plant the seeds about an inch deep, directly into the dirt, allowing plenty of space for the plants to sprawl. The plant will start peeking in 5-10 days and your pumpkin will be full grown between 75-100 days after planting.
6. Oh Me, Oh PIE! The largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed more than 350 pounds and used 12 dozen eggs and 36 pounds of sugar! And yes, there probably was pumpkin pie on Plymouth Rock. It is believed that pumpkin pie originated with the early American settlers, who were likely introduced to the fruit by the Native Americans. The settlers lopped the top off a pumpkin, filled it with milk, honey, and spices, and baked it over a fire.
7. Peepons and Pompons! We can also thank the American colonists for the name “pumpkin”. The original word for pumpkin was the Greek “pepon”, which means large melon. The French changed “pepon” to “pompon”, the British changed it to “pumpion”, and the colonists landed on the word “pumpkin” that we use now. Ask your child what word they would have used for pumpkin, if they were the first to name them!