12 Things You Didn’t Know About Pumpkins

There is a lot more to pumpkins than pumpkin spice lattes
How to Grow Pumpkins

Photo Modified: Flickr / Stephen Harlan / CC BY 4.0

Pumpkins like these can weigh as little as a pound or more than a ton depending on the varietal. 

While you sip on that pumpkin spice latte, consider these unusual pumpkin facts about your favorite fall produce. Maybe you want to know why pumpkins fit so effortlessly into sweet and savory dishes, like pumpkin ravioli and pumpkin pie. Perhaps you are curious about how early American settlers used this foreign gourd for cooking, or why we carve faces into pumpkins on Halloween.

Click here for the 12 Things You Didn’t Know About Pumpkins slideshow.

Pumpkins haven’t always been as popular as they are today. In fact, pumpkins were hardly eaten by people for a considerable part of the 19th century. Hard to believe considering pumpkin spice seems take over our taste buds every fall season. No food is above a little help from pumpkin spice: Pumpkin flavored yogurt, coffee, candies, and even English muffins are cropping up on our supermarket shelves.

This fall season while you snack on your artisanal pumpkin [insert food here]; consider the facts about this versatile, tasty treat to discover how pumpkins went from the bottom to the food chain to the top of fall food trends over the past several hundred years.

45 Different Varieties of pumpkins

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While the round orange pumpkin is the most recognizable pumpkin, pumpkins come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some of the cleverly named pumpkin varietals include, Halloween in Paris from France, Cinderella (the varietal cultivated by the Pilgrims), and Wee-Be-Little a miniature pumpkin varietal.

For a pumpkin recipe that celebrates the diverse varietals of this gourd try this Apple Pumpkin Soup recipe.

Irish Jack-O-Lanterns

Photo Modified: Flickr / William Warby / CC BY 4.0

The tradition of carving pumpkins originated in Ireland. The Irish would carve jack-o-lanterns out of turnips to scare away evil spirits during the Celtic holiday Samhain, the night when spirits of the dead would walk the earth.

Looking for something to do with the leftover pulp from your jack-o-lantern? Try this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread recipe.

Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.