We find ourselves, once again, approaching Halloween with its ghosts, goblins, and candy in abundance. One of the tried and true emblems of this holiday is the glorious pumpkin. Many a child has longed for the day when mom or dad take a carving knife to the orange mass, after picking through piles of them to find just the right size and shape for the desired effect on Halloween evening. I loved when my mom would pull the “guts” out, clean them in a strainer and roast the seeds in the oven with a little olive oil and salt. There was no better treat on the earth.
So what about that glorious orange fruit has made it the wonder, symbol and spiked-tooth representative of the holiday? How did that one veggie get such an honor? And is it a veggie or is it a fruit?
What follows are fun facts you didn’t know about squash. There are links if you’re interested in more information, including the historical reason why pumpkins are used for “Jack-O-Lanterns.” Who knew there was so much to know about squash?
- Pumpkin is a member of the Cucurbita family which includes squash and cucumbers.
- The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.
- In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
- Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
- Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
- Squash comes from the Narragansett Indian word “askutasquash.” This roughly translates into “eaten raw or uncooked.”