By Terri Lynn, SouthFloridaReporter.com, Managing Editor, Sept. 18,2015 – As if you didn’t know, Halloween is on its way and with it comes an onslaught of products paying homage to the mother of all fruits, the pumpkin. In America, it’s pumpkin-mania on steroids. There’s pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin latte, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin Milano cookies. We’re being bombarded with pumpkins as if we are watching a “Punkin Chunkin” championship. (see Delaware’s Punkin Chunkin competition, where pumpkins are shot almost 5,000 feet from an air cannon.)
We checked with our friends at Good Housekeeping who adore the pumpkin and here’s what we found out:
1. The word “pumpkin” showed up for the first time in the fairy tale Cinderella.
2. A French explorer in 1584 first called them “gros melons,” which translates into Latin as “pepon,” which means large melon. It wasn’t until the 17th century that they were first referred to as pumpkins.
3. Over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin are produced each year in the United States. The top pumpkin-producing states are Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California. Pumpkins are grown on every continent except Antarctica.
4. Each pumpkin has about 500 seeds. And they take between 90 and 120 days to grow. High in iron, they can be roasted to eat. The flowers that grow on pumpkin vines are also edible.
5. There are over 45 different varieties of pumpkin. They range in color like red, yellow, and green, and have names like Hooligan, Cotton Candy, and Orange Smoothie.
6. Pumpkins are fruits. More specifically, they are a winter squash in the family Cucurbitacae, which includes cucumbers and melons.
6. Pumpkins are 90% water. And that makes them low calorie. One cup of canned pumpkin only has 83 calories and only half a gram of fat. In comparison, the same serving size of sweet potato has triple the calories. They also have more fiber than kale, more potassium than bananas, and are full of heart-healthy magnesium and iron.
Our Joey Reynolds was wondering through the stores where he found lots of Halloween spirit. Here’ his Rap