Pumpkins

The pumpkin is a plant that is just as popular on the dinner table as it is on a front porch during Halloween. There are numerous varieties of pumpkin that are grown and eaten all over the world although they are perhaps most associated with the Americas. The archetypal pumpkin, the Cucurbita pepo is a round, flattened globe shape that has slightly ribbed skin and is most commonly an orangey colour. Inside of the thick shell are the seeds and the pulp. The pumpkin is a cultivar of a squash plant and has been been selectively by farmers over the years so much that the pumpkin varieties that are most common today likely never would have existed without being directed by human hand.

Originally pumpkins were native to North America but were soon exported around the world and helped along in part by their novelty factor and rarity. Pumpkins today are a staple at the American dinner table and in particular pumpkin pie is a traditional desert that is eaten during Thanksgiving meals in both Canada and in the United States.

When pumpkins aren’t being used for food they serve another more ornamental purpose during the latter weeks of October when they are commonly used as halloween decorations. The typical pumpkin during the halloween period is one that has been hollowed out and had cuts made to it so that it resembles a scary looking face and it is common practice to place a candle inside the pumpkin so the face is illuminated from within. In many places around the world you can even find competitions that are held between pumpkin carvers to see who can create the best pumpkin artwork and is a great family activity.

Another form of competition in the pumpkin world is the pumpkin growing competitions that are frequently held where pumpkin growers compete to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin. The ‘giant pumpkins’ are a large squash plant that in some cases have even been known to grow to more than one tonne in weight. This particular varies came about from the large squash of South America which was cultivated by both dedicated farmers and particular botanical societies. Whilst not every giant pumpkin grows to be extremely large in size, the worlds heaviest pumpkin on record managed to reach an incredible 2,528 pounds in weight and is the current world record holder which was grown by Steve Geddes.