Pumpkin

Pumpkins Pumpkin attached to a stalk

A pumpkin is a vegetable, most commonly orange in colour when ripe, that grows as a fruit (gourd) from a trailing vine of the genus Cucurbita (Cucurbitaceae). Cultivated in North America, continental Europe, as well as in English cottage gardens, Cucurbita varieties include Curcurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita mixta, or Cucurbita moschata — all plants native to the Western hemisphere. The pumpkin varies greatly in form, being sometimes nearly globular, but more generally oblong or ovoid in shape. The rind is smooth and very variable in colour. The larger kinds acquire a weight of 40 to 80 lb (18 to 36 kg) but smaller varieties are in vogue for garden culture. Pumpkins are a popular food, with their innards commonly eaten cooked and served in dishes such as pumpkin pie. Pumpkins are traditionally used to carve Jack-o'-lanterns for use as part of Halloween celebrations.

Pumpkins and squashes

Pumpkins on sale at a Caribbean market

The name "squash" is applied in America to this and other species of the genus Cucurbita. The name is adapted from an American Indian word (see L. H. Bailey, Cyclopaedia of American Horticulture, for a fuller account of the squashes).

Summer squashes, like pumpkins, are mostly varieties of Cucurbita pepo; if picked while immature they are eaten as summer squash or marrow, but if left to mature on the vine will form a hard fruit like winter squash. Winter squashes are either C. maxima or C. moschata, and are not eaten in immature form. The varieties of pumpkins and squashes are numerous and great variety in size and shape; it is difficult to keep them pure if various kinds are grown together, but the true squashes (C. maxima) do not hybridize with the true pumpkin (C. pepo) species. If carefully handled to avoid cracking of the skin, and kept dry and fairly warm, winter squashes may be kept for months.

Wagon full of pumpkins

Studies by the Royal Military College of Canada show promise for pumpkins and other members of the Cucurbita pepo family to be viable candidates for DDT phytoremediation. (see Scientific American, October 25, 2004)

Cultivation

Pumpkins have historically been pollinated by the native squash bee Peponapis pruinosa, but this bee has declined, probably due to pesticide sensitivity, and most commercial plantings are pollinated by honeybees today. One hive per acre (4,000 m² per hive) is recommended by the US Department of Agriculture. Gardeners with a shortage of bees, however, often have to hand pollinate.

Inadequately pollinated pumpkins usually start growing but abort before full development. Often there is an opportunistic fungus that the gardener blames for the abortion, but the solution to this problem of abortion tends to be better pollination rather than fungicide.

Placing honeybees for pumpkin pollination Mohawk Valley, NY

Pumpkins are grown today in the US more for decoration than for food, and popular contests continually lead growers to vie for the world record for the largest pumpkin ever grown. Growers have many techniques, often secretive, including hand pollination, removal from the vines of all but one pumpkin, and injection of fertilizer or even milk directly into the vines with a hypodermic needle.

Cooking

When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked and roasted, or made into various kinds of pie, alone or mixed with other fruit; while small and green it may be eaten in the same way as the vegetable marrow.

Wikibooks Cookbook has more about this subject: Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Mashed pumpkin


Chunking

Pumpkin chunking is a competitive activity in which teams build various mechanical devices designed to throw a pumpkin as far as possible. Catapults, trebuchets, ballistas and air cannons are the most common mechanisms. Some pumpkin chunkers grow special varieties of pumpkin, which are bred and grown under special conditions intended to improve the pumpkin's chances of surviving being thrown.

Pumpkin seeds

The hulless or semi-hulless seeds of pumpkins are eaten as a snack, similar to the sunflower seed. They are a good source of essential fatty acids, potassium, and magnesium. In Latin America these are often greenish in color and known as pepitas. One of the typical pumpkin products of Austria is pumpkin seed oil.

Pumpkin trivia

  • The pumpkin is related to the cucumber.
  • The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,469 lb (666 kg). Raised by Larry Checkon from Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania in 2005, it is technically a "squash," Cucurbita maxima, and was of the public variety "Atlantic Giant," which is the "giant" variety - culminated from the simple hubbard squash by enthusiast farmers through intermittent effort since the mid 1800's.
  • Pumpkins are orange because they contain massive amounts of lutein, alpha- and beta-carotene. These nutrients turn to vitamin A in the body.
  • Using pumpkins as lanterns at Halloween is based on an ancient Celtic custom brought to America by Irish immigrants. All Hallows Eve on 31 October marked the end of the old Celtic calendar year, and on that night hollowed-out turnips, beets and rutabagas with a candle inside were placed on windowsills and porches to welcome home spirits of deceased ancestors and ward off evil spirits and a restless soul called "Stingy Jack," hence the name "Jack-o'-lantern".
  • The town of Keene, New Hampshire currently holds the world record for the most lit pumpkins in one location.
  • 90% of all pumpkins sold in the United States are used for Jack-o'-lanterns.
  • Illinois produces more pumpkins than any other state in the United States.
  • Pumpkins were among the first foods from the "New World" adopted in Europe, probably due to a European cousin: Lagenaria
  • "Pumpkin" is sometimes used as an affectionate term, often referring to one's significant other. For example: "I love you, Pumpkin!"

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One of the typical pumpkin products of Austria is pumpkin seed oil.
. In Latin America these are often greenish in color and known as pepitas. In general it's the angle of the sun's rays and the number of hours of light per day that actually affects the seasons in most regions on the planet. They are a good source of essential fatty acids, potassium, and magnesium. But the distance from the sun doesn't affect the seasons on Earth to a measurable amount, since Earth's eliptical orbit is almost circular. The hulless or semi-hulless seeds of pumpkins are eaten as a snack, similar to the sunflower seed. Conversely, the northern summer is when the sun is farthest from the earth.

Some pumpkin chunkers grow special varieties of pumpkin, which are bred and grown under special conditions intended to improve the pumpkin's chances of surviving being thrown. Through an interesting coincidence in the Earth's orbit, the northern hemisphere's winter occurs roughly when the sun is actually closest to the earth (Perihelion is actually on or about January 4). Catapults, trebuchets, ballistas and air cannons are the most common mechanisms. The first civilization to celebrate the winter solstice were the Ancient Persians, deriving from their Zoroastrian religion. Pumpkin chunking is a competitive activity in which teams build various mechanical devices designed to throw a pumpkin as far as possible. Many cultures celebrate or celebrated a holiday near (within a few days) the winter solstice; examples of these include Yalda, Saturnalia, Christmas, Karachun, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Zamenhof Day.
. The winter solstice is the time when the Germanic festival of Yule was celebrated; it is celebrated today by Ásatrúar and is recognized by some Neopagan groups as a Neopagan Sabbat.

When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked and roasted, or made into various kinds of pie, alone or mixed with other fruit; while small and green it may be eaten in the same way as the vegetable marrow.
. Growers have many techniques, often secretive, including hand pollination, removal from the vines of all but one pumpkin, and injection of fertilizer or even milk directly into the vines with a hypodermic needle. Rather confusingly, the character zhì may also mean "arrival" in other contexts, but it is clear that the Chinese consider "winter's arrival" (立冬, lì dōng, literally "establishment of winter") to be a separate jiéqì which falls on or around November 7 instead. Pumpkins are grown today in the US more for decoration than for food, and popular contests continually lead growers to vie for the world record for the largest pumpkin ever grown. It is traditionally regarded as one of the year's most important jiéqìs (solar terms), comparable to Chinese New Year. Often there is an opportunistic fungus that the gardener blames for the abortion, but the solution to this problem of abortion tends to be better pollination rather than fungicide. In the Chinese calendar, the winter solstice too marks midwinter and is called dōng zhì (冬至, "winter's extreme").

Inadequately pollinated pumpkins usually start growing but abort before full development. The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn from the 19th to the 23rd of December. Gardeners with a shortage of bees, however, often have to hand pollinate. A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof box over the entrance and penetrates the passage to light up the chamber. One hive per acre (4,000 m² per hive) is recommended by the US Department of Agriculture. The passage and chamber of Newgrange, a tomb in Ireland, are illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise. Pumpkins have historically been pollinated by the native squash bee Peponapis pruinosa, but this bee has declined, probably due to pesticide sensitivity, and most commercial plantings are pollinated by honeybees today. For example, winter begins on November 1, and ends on January 31.

(see Scientific American, October 25, 2004). In Ireland's calendars, the solstices and equinoxes all occur at about midpoint in each season. Studies by the Royal Military College of Canada show promise for pumpkins and other members of the Cucurbita pepo family to be viable candidates for DDT phytoremediation. At this time, the Sun appears over the Tropic of Cancer. If carefully handled to avoid cracking of the skin, and kept dry and fairly warm, winter squashes may be kept for months. In the southern hemisphere, winter solstice falls on June 21/June 22, which is the northern hemisphere's summer solstice. pepo) species. At this time, the Sun appears over the Tropic of Capricorn, roughly 23.5 degrees South of the earth's equator.

maxima) do not hybridize with the true pumpkin (C. In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice usually falls on December 21/December 22, which is the southern hemisphere's summer solstice. The varieties of pumpkins and squashes are numerous and great variety in size and shape; it is difficult to keep them pure if various kinds are grown together, but the true squashes (C. The day of the winter solstice is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. moschata, and are not eaten in immature form. Solstice is a Latin borrowing and means "sun stand still", referring to the appearance that the Sun's noontime elevation change stops its progress, either northerly or southerly. maxima or C. This causes the Sun to appear at its farthest below the celestial equator when viewed from the far hemisphere.

Winter squashes are either C. In astronomy, the winter solstice is the moment when the earth is at a point in its orbit where one hemisphere is most inclined away from the Sun. Summer squashes, like pumpkins, are mostly varieties of Cucurbita pepo; if picked while immature they are eaten as summer squash or marrow, but if left to mature on the vine will form a hard fruit like winter squash. Bailey, Cyclopaedia of American Horticulture, for a fuller account of the squashes). H.

The name is adapted from an American Indian word (see L. The name "squash" is applied in America to this and other species of the genus Cucurbita. . Pumpkins are traditionally used to carve Jack-o'-lanterns for use as part of Halloween celebrations.

Pumpkins are a popular food, with their innards commonly eaten cooked and served in dishes such as pumpkin pie. The larger kinds acquire a weight of 40 to 80 lb (18 to 36 kg) but smaller varieties are in vogue for garden culture. The rind is smooth and very variable in colour. The pumpkin varies greatly in form, being sometimes nearly globular, but more generally oblong or ovoid in shape.

Cultivated in North America, continental Europe, as well as in English cottage gardens, Cucurbita varieties include Curcurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita mixta, or Cucurbita moschata — all plants native to the Western hemisphere. A pumpkin is a vegetable, most commonly orange in colour when ripe, that grows as a fruit (gourd) from a trailing vine of the genus Cucurbita (Cucurbitaceae). For example: "I love you, Pumpkin!". "Pumpkin" is sometimes used as an affectionate term, often referring to one's significant other.

Pumpkins were among the first foods from the "New World" adopted in Europe, probably due to a European cousin: Lagenaria. Illinois produces more pumpkins than any other state in the United States. 90% of all pumpkins sold in the United States are used for Jack-o'-lanterns. The town of Keene, New Hampshire currently holds the world record for the most lit pumpkins in one location.

All Hallows Eve on 31 October marked the end of the old Celtic calendar year, and on that night hollowed-out turnips, beets and rutabagas with a candle inside were placed on windowsills and porches to welcome home spirits of deceased ancestors and ward off evil spirits and a restless soul called "Stingy Jack," hence the name "Jack-o'-lantern". Using pumpkins as lanterns at Halloween is based on an ancient Celtic custom brought to America by Irish immigrants. These nutrients turn to vitamin A in the body. Pumpkins are orange because they contain massive amounts of lutein, alpha- and beta-carotene.

Raised by Larry Checkon from Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania in 2005, it is technically a "squash," Cucurbita maxima, and was of the public variety "Atlantic Giant," which is the "giant" variety - culminated from the simple hubbard squash by enthusiast farmers through intermittent effort since the mid 1800's. The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,469 lb (666 kg). The pumpkin is related to the cucumber. Mashed pumpkin.

Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin soup.

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