Next National Pumpkin DayThursday, 26 October 2023
National Pumpkin Day on October 26 celebrates one of the most beloved symbols of Autumn. Come October, pumpkins are everywhere - on food, on drinks, and even as house decorations. People visit pumpkin patches to find their perfect pumpkins to carve for Halloween and walk around sipping their pumpkin spice lattes, and pumpkin pies are an essential Thanksgiving staple. For Americans, pumpkins represent everything cozy and loved about Autumn.
While the origins of National Pumpkin Day are unknown, it is no wonder that there would be a day to celebrate this North American squash.
Pumpkins have existed in American territory, for longer than America has existed as a country. Scientists have found evidence of pumpkin seeds in the American continent dating back to between 7000 and 5500 BC. Interestingly, the name for pumpkin originates from the Greek Pepon, which means "large melon". In the 1500s, French explorer Jacques Cartier found these fruits while on a journey to what would become North America, and gave them the name "pompions" which eventually became the English word we know now - pumpkin.
In America, pumpkins were first grown by Native Americans next to the river banks. Pumpkins were very important in the Native Americans' diet, as they provided enough nutrients to help them survive long winters. When pilgrims arrived in America, Native Americans introduced them to pumpkins, and historians believe that pumpkins were already served on Thanksgiving in 1623.
Nowadays, pumpkins are instantly associated with Halloween. The tradition of carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns came to the United States via Scottish ad Irish immigrants in the 1800s. Now, it is a popular and beloved family activity.
While pumpkins are now grown on most continents, the United States still produces over 1,5 billion pounds of pumpkins every year.
Pumpkins come in many different colors and sizes. As well as orange, you can find pink, white, red, green, and even blue pumpkins! They also come in different sizes, one of the smallest varieties being called the 'Jack-be-little'.
The world's heaviest pumpkin was grown in Italy in 2021. It was over 17ft in circumference and weighed 1226kg, the equivalent of an average of ten baby elephants!
The most expensive pumpkin seed was bought for £1250 (or $1,481 in Aug 2022). It was taken from a world record-breaking pumpkin and bought by the company Thompson & Morgan in the hope of breaking a new record.
Illinois is the state that produces the most pumpkins in the country. The city of Morton IL is known as the Pumpkin Capital of the World since it has a factory responsible for packaging 85% of the world's canned pumpkins.
According to a survey, pumpkin is America's favorite Thanksgiving pie filling, with 36% of people preferring it other fillings. Pecan pie came in second place with 17%.
What to do on National Pumpkin Day
On October 26 Halloween is just around the corner, so National Pumpkin Day is the perfect day to visit a pumpkin patch and choose the perfect pumpkins to carve and display in your home. You may even find the pumpkin patch has a festival or special event to celebrate the season with family entertainment such as tractor rides and games.
You can go the traditional route and carve a scary face into your pumpkin, or look on the internet at the thousands of creative and different ideas around for pumpkin carving.
Pumpkins are a delicious fruit, so why not try some pumpkin recipes today? Here's a list of America's favorite pumpkin recipes, perhaps you can try something new!!..
Perhaps the most famous pumpkin recipe of them all is pumpkin pie!
If you want something savory, and something to keep you warm on a cold cold night, then maybe a yummy pumpkin soup would be perfect.
Pumpkin Risotto is an amazing adaption of a traditional Italian dish, which works especially well with goat's cheese and cranberries.
As a drink, pumpkin goes well with coffee and cinnamon to make a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
When mixed with cream cheese and sugar, you can make the perfect filling for cheesecake, especially with the addition of vanilla essence and cinnamon.