When the Irish immigrated to America,
they brought with them the traditions of Halloween but the pumpkin
quickly replaced the turnip as the Irish people found pumpkins to be
plentiful in America. Today in modern America, no Halloween celebration
is complete without pumpkin-carving, also know as the Jack O'
Is it a wonder
then that the mere mention of the word pumpkin these days, conjures to
images of modern Americans donning on Halloween costumes and carrying
with them the infamous pumpkin face of Jack O' Lantern? While it is
definitely interesting to know the history behind the use of this fruit
in the Halloween celebration, in reality, there is so much more to this
fruit that its clichéd festive associations.
The word pumpkin originated from the Greek
word pepon, which means large melon. Originating in Central America, the
pumpkin is a member of the gourd family whose other members includes the
watermelon, squash and cucumber. Pumpkins fruits are grown all over the world.
In fact, it can be found in 6 of the 7 continents.
Compared to other fruits, pumpkins are
relatively easy to grow and can be harvested after 4 months of planting.
For those who are interested in storing a pumpkin, wash it in a very
mild chlorine solution. After washing, ensure that the fruit is
completely dry, before storing the fruit in a cool, dry and if possible,
dark place. Pumpkins are best stored on pieces of cardboard on flat
The pumpkin fruit
ranges in color. More common are the yellow and orange colored ones
while white pumpkins can also be found extremely healthy fruit. Its uses
are endless as almost every part of the fruit is useful.
For example, a pumpkin's flowers are
edible, its seeds can be roasted and eaten as tasty snacks and its
orange flesh, which has a mild yet sweet flavor to it, makes for a good
side dish or excellent dessert for the sweet-toothed. Depending on your
creativity and taste, the pumpkin can be made into pies, scones, breads,
soups, cookies, cakes or even ice cream!
Health experts agree that the fruit can do
wonders for the body as it has high contents of Vitamin A, potassium and
other minerals, which help prevent the hardening of arteries, the main
cause of heart problems. The pumpkin is also said to be able to cure
freckles, snake bites and prevent prostate cancer.
If you have never been a fan of this
friendly fruit why not start now? These fruits can easily be obtained
from major supermarkets and fruit stalls. If you are still not convinced
of its goodness, then note this: pumpkin has zero cholesterol, and is
low in fat, calories and salt.