Pumpkins are a Mighty Squash! [VIDEO]

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Pumpkins are a Mighty Squash!

By Erin Baxter

One of the first plants domesticated in North America, the great pumpkin (not Charlie Brown’s “Great Pumpkin”) is a very unique gourd. It’s a cultivar of the squash plant, known as “Cucurbita Pepo” in Latin, which translates as “Gourd Melon.” This name is given because of the round shape, slightly ribbed skin, and deep yellow to orange coloration. Of course, the thick shell contains numerous seeds and pulp.

As we all know, the pumpkin is both a trick and a treat! They are widely grown for commercial use, and are commonly used in both food and recreation. Halloween’s most popular symbol, the jack-o’-lantern, is created by carving out a pumpkin (or turnip in some countries) and placing a candle in the hollowed out bottom.

During Halloween, it’s common to see jack-o’-lanterns on doorsteps and as decorations at parties and festivals. There also seems to be a strong connection in folklore and popular culture between pumpkins and the supernatural; i.e., the Halloween lore that jack-o’-lanterns ward off demons in the night. But, let’s not forget the ever-popular Thanksgiving treat, pumpkin pie.

In the U.S., millions of cans of cans of pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling are sold each year. When served at Thanksgiving (and even at Christmas), the pumpkin pie is a symbol of a bountiful harvest. However you like your pumpkin – in a pie or on your front doorstep – there’s no substitute for its grand presence during the fall.